Protocol scandal delays play of Azerbaijani anthem during Erdogan-led ceremony

An alleged protocol mistake delayed the play of Azerbaijan’s national anthem during a landmark ceremony in eastern Turkish city of Kars in an incident many described as a “scandal,” Today’s Zaman reports. 

Azerbaijani anthem was supposed to be played after the country’s president, Ilham Aliyev, finished his speech in Kars during the opening ceremony of a school. After the Turkish anthem, officials as well as Aliyev on the podium waited for some time for the Azerbaijani anthem. As the Azerbaijani anthem didn’t play, Erdoğan called the protocol officials and scolded them.

The officials later sat and Aliyev had to return to his seat as the anthem was never played. In the meantime, Education Minister Nabi Avcı pulled out his phone, searched for the Azerbaijani anthem and asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to ask his Azerbaijani counterpart if the anthem was true. Aliyev then nodded to confirm.

Minutes later, Erdoğan took the platform and said a “protocol mistake” should be rectified. Azerbaijani anthem was then played. It was not clear if the anthem was played through Avcı’s cell phone.

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