BAKHTIYOR ISABEK:There is not political environment in Uzbekistan for opposition.
There is not political environment in Uzbekistan for opposition.
Bakhtiyor Isabek was born in 1945 in Sulton Rabot village of South Kazakhstan oblast of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In 1961-1966 studied at the Tashkent State Teachers’ Training Institute named after Nizami (currently Teachers Trailing University) and graduated from the faculty of history-philology. In 1966 he started his first employment as a laboratory worker at the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan. In 1968-1993 he worked as a teacher and docent at former Tashkent State University (currently National University of Uzbekistan). Together with work at the University, Bakhtiyor Isabek was always busy with scientific work and wrote fiction.
The textbook “Introduction into Turkic Philology”, published in 1984 was his first work written jointly with Iristoy Qo’chqortoev. In 1995 Bakhtiyor published his book “Sayram”, and in 2006 he published the textbook “The Uzbek language”, intended for Form 10 of secondary schools. In 2013 he published his book “Sultan Rabot”, and in 2015 – “An introduction into Turkology”. In addition, Bakhtiyor is the author of the forward part of the book “Genealogy of Yassavy and Amir Timur”. To-date the scholar has published 5 scientific works, over 200 articles. In addition, Bakhtiyor translated Fuod Ko’prul’s book of “First tasavvuf writers in Turkish fiction”, Lev Gumilev’s “Ancient Turks” into Uzbek. Bakhtiyor Isabek is a founder of “Birlik” People’s Movement and “Erk” Party. He was fired from his work for his political activities. He was refused to get any work from 1993 until he went on pension. Bakhtiyor Isabek is laureate of Mahmud Qoshqary International Award.
* – Bakhtiyor aka, first of all, we want to tell you that we so glad you have approached the “Assistance Centre”. What are the main objectives of your approaching us? *
— Taking the occasion, I want to thank those, who founded the “Assistance centre” and initiated this good will action, personally to Bakhodir Hasan Ogli, and wish success in the on-going work in the flourishing, and wellbeing of our people. As I wrote in my application to the “Assistance Centre”, I have applied to get assistance in studying the reflection of national policy in international relations of former Soviet countries in the territory of Central Asia (current Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan). We and, I am sure other people are interested in causes of racial conflicts. This is because, the number of those, who are facing the problem of being considered guilty due to different conflicts. Moreover, very young teenagers are losing their lives. Innocent kids are getting orphaned. Such factors are causing negative influence not only to
We and, I am sure other people are interested in causes of racial conflicts. This is because, the number of those, who are facing the problem of being considered guilty due to different conflicts. Moreover, very young teenagers are losing their lives. Innocent kids are getting orphaned. Such factors are causing negative influence not only to wellbeing of families, but also to state budgets. Taking into consideration these factors, we would like to undertake a monitoring among wide social layers and search the ways of prevention of such conflicts. We are aware, that such activities require funding. And
Taking into consideration these factors, we would like to undertake a monitoring among wide social layers and search the ways of prevention of such conflicts. We are aware, that such activities require funding. And lack of funds has always been a barrier to success of our work. Therefore, we have approached the “Assistance centre” and we saw that the people at this centre are really adhering to the objectives of the group.
*- – Now, we are aware of you purposes and plans. In reality, making peace between two people who are angry with each other is both very difficult and a very good deed. You have planned to study inter racial conflicts. That is a noble cause. But not everybody knows the cause and the triggering factors of such conflicts. On top of it, a domestic problem has always been widely used as an example, when a conflict occurs between two nations. For instance, “a Kyrgyz man entered an Uzbek man’s shop and took such-and-such thing for free by threatening, and they started this quarrel” or “the boss fired an Uzbek man without reason and hired a Kazakh man to his position”. This caused the problem”. How does a conflict develop? Can you tell us something about it? *
That is a noble cause. But not everybody knows the cause and the triggering factors of such conflicts. On top of it, a domestic problem has always been widely used as an example, when a conflict occurs between two nations. For instance, “a Kyrgyz man entered an Uzbek man’s shop and took such-and-such thing for free by threatening, and they started this quarrel” or “the boss fired an Uzbek man without reason and hired a Kazakh man to his position”. This caused the problem”. How does a conflict develop? Can you tell us something about it? *
— We got to look back into history before we can explain the causes of conflicts. In reality, a Turkic nationality called “Uzbeks” is a people, who have been living the territory of Turkistan from ancient time, and are considered indigenous people. This nation has been living in the territory of the countries that are now called Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan from ancient times. Here they were formed as Uzbeks of Turks and shaped the Uzbek nation. This means that these people did not move to Uzbekistan from anywhere, (in other words, Uzbeks are not a diaspora), but they are indigenous people and became citizens of the countries that have been established as a result of modern political demarcation. The history of Uzbeks, and the history of Uzbek literature, which is an integral part of Uzbek history can be taken as an example. The fact that the founder of modern Uzbek Turkic language Ahmad Yassavy (XI-XII centuries) and Alisher Navoiy, who took this language to the highest levels of development, both were born and lived outside the territory of modern Uzbekistan is a solid confirmation of this. The national groups who have been formed as Uzbeks (Turkic) outside the modern territory of Uzbekistan have
The national groups who have been formed as Uzbeks (Turkic) outside the modern territory of Uzbekistan have commonality of such social events, like history, culture, economy, life style, ethnography, and language, which determine to belong to a nationality. While we lived in the Soviet oppression era, aboriginal Uzbeks lived in three countries: The Soviet Union, Afghanistan, and China, after gaining independence, together with the above countries, Uzbeks found themselves citizens of young countries like Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. This today aboriginal Uzbeks live in seven countries. Unfortunately, the governments and a most population of these countries are not treating Uzbeks as aboriginal people of their countries. Examples to this are the bloodshed events in Osh, O’zgan and Jalalabad in Kyrgyzstan and Qarabulak conflict events between Kazakh and Uzbeks in 2015 in Sayram district of South Kazakhstan oblast.
In addition, lack comprehensive knowledge the history of their own people and demographic history can be taken as other cause factors to such situations. The evil and old traditions of falsification of history also have the specific influence to the origin of the inter-racial conflict. To-date, getting education and teaching in the Uzbek language in the countries, where our fellow kinsmen live has become a useless thing, in other words, because it is not impossible to take entrance exams to higher educational institutions, it is not impossible to run affairs in the Uzbek language in any industry of life. In such situations, the Uzbek language is now left as a language of use within the families, maximum in the streets. It is natural that this has negative effects on the possibility of appointment of Uzbek people to any positions at the government and government institutions, or being elected to any state systems. To be exact, the fact of this problem is practically quite obvious now. Of course, this should not mean that “Uzbeks should become the dominating nations in their countries of residence”. However, allowing the above factor to happen will eventually cause conflicts. Therefore, I believe that the requirements and interests of
To be exact, the fact of this problem is practically quite obvious now. Of course, this should not mean that “Uzbeks should become the dominating nations in their countries of residence”. However, allowing the above factor to happen will eventually cause conflicts. Therefore, I believe that the requirements and interests of aboriginal population of any country should always be taken into account within the possibilities. Probably my answers brought some clarification in the causes of the conflicts…
*– Bakhtiyor aka, you are aware of the intention of establishing the “Assistance Centre” to improve the condition of oppositionists and at least partially cover the material shortage they have to carry out their activities. However, some foreign politicians and even some our own politicians think that there is no opposition in Uzbekistan. What do you think about this? If any, do the representatives of opposition really need assistance? *
* — * I cannot deny the fact that everybody has his own view about this. But as a citizen, who lives in this country, who breathes the air of this environment, I would like to note that there really is some opposition in Uzbekistan, who are against the activities and policy of today’s government in Uzbekistan. Although they managed to stop the activities of opposition back in 1993, irrespective of the difficulties, during the initial years of independence, the opposition members worked productively in country.
I want to stress this because I witnessed these factors myself and was part of this boiling oven. The opposition members of those days seriously contributed, for instance, to legalising the state language status of the Uzbek language, transfer to the Latin alphabet, strengthening of political parties and movements, selection of their positions. Although the representatives of the ruling circles of modern days are referred to as “founders”, “initiators”, there were some among these, who were not quite willing to implement the above in practice and life, who were against these ideas…
The pressure against the opposition members especially aggravated in 2005, after the Andijan massacre events and this process is still on-going. As a result of this, the representatives of opposition found themselves in heavy vice. They had to face unemployment, prohibitions and pursuit. In short terms, these people, who fought for their nation and motherland were left defenceless. The endeavours of “The Assistance centre” deserve much praise and example in helping the representatives of opposition within their possibilities. So, the mere fact of readiness of “the Assistance centre” to help the opposition means the existence of opposition in Uzbekistan. On the basis of this, I repeat once again: Opposition does exist in Uzbekistan, but there is not political environment for oppositionists. I am sorry to say this, but this is the truth we have! There should be overall conditions for the opposition to carry out their activities. Unfortunately, this cannot be established in our country. Opposition people are even classified as “enemies of the nation” or “traitors”.
With regard to your question whether the representatives of opposition have any need for help. Assistance is definitely required. If they are left without protection, within the next 1-2 years, we will have no opposition representative left in the country. This will mean the current government continue running their activities with more freedom. I am telling you this as a man who currently lives in the country. It is however quite clear that without assistance no political organisations, or human rights activist organisations can continue their activities. I believe that such assistance will possibly lead to return of our opposition activists, who live abroad to Uzbekistan.
Interviewed by: Ro’ziboy Azim