Is it likely that the organizers of the recent terrorist attack in Turkey will attempt new crimes and even expand the geography of their activity?
This threat is natural not only for Turkey but also for Russia, France, the United States. The territory of all countries taking part in anti-terror operation against ISIL is under threat of their attacks. In addition, the area of these countries is subject to attack because the citizens of the states who take part in the ISIL terror acitivities may return home where they already have links and due opportunities to commit any terrorist attack.
Therefore, when Azerbaijan adopted a bill on criminal responsibility of persons who take part in illegal armed formations, it wanted to warn against and prevent Azerbaijani citizens from joining ISIL, because it is very difficult to trace them further without violating their rights. By being part of ISIL, they gain not only combat readiness and experience in terrorism but also become professions in terror and turn into a kind of agents of terrorists. This is the problem.
The number of such people is not that low...
By some information, nearly 16,000 residents of North and South Caucasus take part in ISIL activity, by other - their number reaches 10,000 people. Media recently spread information about neutralization of a terrorist grouping, which planned an explosion in underground in Moscow.
You have mentioned the toughening of Azerbaijan's legislative base, related to the criminal persecution of citizens who take part in illegal armed formations abroad. Do you think it is no less important to strengthen the preventive work to avert this negative phenomenon?
Preventive works is held continuously. Do not think that the matter is only about criminal responsibility. Another matter is that the preventive work must already be held in detention places among convicts.
It is clear that the work must be held among potential social base. Another question is how to treat Russia's open involvement in a war against ISIL in Syria?
This decision must be understood and approved. If we look into history, we would remember that terrorist acts in our territory were often committed on the border, at the junction of the North and South Caucasus. Recall the 'Forest brothers' and other terrorist organizations. Therefore, this must be considered in reality.
All the same, Russia has recently striken the terrorists position in the Syrian territory from the Caspian Sea, from the ships not far from Azerbaijani coasts. Does it not carry an additional threat for us?
Let's rely on the facts. There is no official confirmation that Azerbaijan provided its airspace for these strikes. In addition, the matter is about controlled missiles. They can fly over the free waters of the Caspian Sea, Iran and further to Syria. Therefore, it is not right to say that Caspian Sea means Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan keeps a low profile in thie issue and does it right. Because we are not Russia, the United States or France. And we do not have their potential. We already have Armenian terrorists whom we need to encounter, while religious extremists also add a problem. In such a situation, we should not open a new front. Therefore, Azerbaijani government behaves right, calmly considering these issues.
And do not forget the main thing. The situation may complicate if no political solution to Syrian crisis is found and missile systems start to be supplied to Assad's armed opponents. This will lead to great problems.