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Azerbaijanis honor the 96th anniversary of the Republic

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla., May 28, 2014 /Palm Beach Post/ - Today, Azerbaijani-Americans celebrate the 96th anniversary of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the world’s first predominantly Muslim secular democracy. Two years prior to the Bolshevik occupation in 1920, Azerbaijanis formed an elected multiparty legislature and a representative government.

In 1919, the Parliament of Azerbaijan adopted a universal suffrage law, which preceded the U.S. equivalent, granting women the right to vote. Sharing impressions after the meeting with the Azerbaijani delegation at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, President Woodrow Wilson remarked that Azerbaijani leaders “talked the same language that he did in respect of ideas, in respect of conceptions of liberty, right and justice.”

In 1950s, during the Soviet rule in Azerbaijan, some exiled leaders of the country settled in the United States and established the Azerbaijan Society of America, which represented the Azerbaijani community on American soil.

Azerbaijan restored its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and established diplomatic relations with the U.S. in 1992. Azerbaijan has become a vital partner of the U.S. in a critical region between Russia and Iran. Azerbaijan also provided its full support for the U.S. and NATO missions in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

I join members of Azerbaijani-American Council in requesting a proper recognition of May 28 — Azerbaijani National Day — by way of resolutions or proclamations.