Baku, May 10, AZERTAC
A solemn ceremony to mark the 92nd birthday anniversary of national leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev and 11th anniversary of the establishment of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has been held.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, his wife Mehriban Aliyeva and family members attended the ceremony.
The head of state made a speech at the ceremony.
Speech by President Ilham Aliyev:
- Dear ladies and gentlemen.
It is the 92nd birthday of great leader Heydar Aliyev today and the people of Azerbaijan are reaffirming their respect and reverence for the blessed memory of the great leader.
Heydar Aliyev is a historic personality, the creator and architect of the independent Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev has led Azerbaijan twice and on both occasions Azerbaijan developed rapidly.
The first time, during the Soviet period, Azerbaijan underwent fundamental change after his appointment as leader of Azerbaijan in 1969. From that time on, Azerbaijan rapidly developed under his leadership and was among leaders of the Soviet Union for 13 years. In those years only two republics of the Soviet Union were self-sufficient and contributed to the all-Union budget. Azerbaijan was one of them. It was in those years that modern industrial estates were created and agriculture developed fast. Azerbaijan also asserted itself in the field of Soviet culture and art, and the history of our country was very successful at the time.
This is why the Azerbaijani people turned to the great leader again at the beginning of the 1990s and invited him to take power. After all, in the 1970s and early 1980s, due to his attachment to the nation and bold policies, he earned great love and sympathy of the people.
As you know, there were several stages in the life of the great leader and each period has its own importance. At each stage and in all positions he acted as a worthy politician, a brave man and a patriot attached to his nation. Due to the successes of Heydar Aliyev in Azerbaijan, in late 1982 he was elected to the key structure of Soviet Union, the Politburo, and was appointed First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers. He was in charge of many areas that required serious attention, and he treated the entire work entrusted to him with a huge responsibility. His work was very effective. At the same time, he always paid attention to Azerbaijan and tried to help things go well. But unfortunately, after his departure from Azerbaijan, the situation in the country began to experience a decline. We can say that Azerbaijan was faced with a stagnation. In other words, there was no revival and active work that were observed when he was here.
A large number of books, articles and research papers have been published about his subsequent destiny. Those present here, of course, are well aware of this history. The younger generation also needs to know and study it, because it is our glorious history. In 1987, Heydar Aliyev was faced with an even greater injustice. The person who led the Soviet state at the time committed an injustice to him. And this injustice had a reason. Envy, hypocrisy and other negative phenomena in relation to Heydar Aliyev led to his resignation. It was a great loss for Azerbaijan, because Heydar Aliyev was represented on the Soviet government. It is no coincidence that less than two weeks after his resignation the Armenian nationalists raised the issue of separating Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan and annexing it to Armenia. Unfortunately, the then Soviet leadership shared this opinion on the issue. Their positions overlapped. At the same time, the recent evidence suggests that even foreign countries were urging the leaders of the Soviet Union to separate Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan and join it to Armenia. This is generally an intolerable practice in international relations, but this is history, this is the truth. This is when all the problems of Azerbaijan began.
At this time, power in Azerbaijan was deliberately given to people who did not enjoy any popular support and authority, had no political experience and no national spirit. Their main goal was to cause suffering to the Azerbaijani people, destroy the economy of Azerbaijan and prevent its development. At that time, the Soviet state was still fairly strong and there was a centralized system of governance. Therefore, the Azerbaijani people could not express their legitimate protest.
In January 1990, Heydar Aliyev proved to be a patriot and a brave man again. I remember those days quite well. A heinous crime was committed against the Azerbaijani people. Innocent people were killed. The Soviet army entered Baku and unleashed a massacre on its people. Hundreds of people were killed, wounded and went missing. It was a great crime. Unfortunately, the then leadership of Azerbaijan did not raise its voice in protest at this. And again, Heydar Aliyev became the only hope of the people. At that time Heydar Aliyev was retired and was not engaged in active work. He was subjected to a smear campaign initiated both by Soviet leadership and those who held various positions in Azerbaijan. Then, too, there was a "fifth column" which operated against him, concocting anonymous letters and denunciations. Today, denunciations are addressed to other places, but at that time they were written to Moscow. On 21 January 1990, Heydar Aliyev went to the Permanent Representative Office of Azerbaijan in Moscow and raised his voice of protest to the world. I am proud and very happy that I was there with him on that day. I will never forget that a lot of people were gathered there. Thousands of Azerbaijanis went to the Permanent Representative Office of Azerbaijan to express their solidarity, protest and feelings.
When we arrived there, people recognized Heydar Aliyev and there was immediate silence. People seemed to have created a corridor for him to pass into the building. That was when the people of Azerbaijan expressed their respect for and confidence in Heydar Aliyev again. He was retired and there was a dirty campaign against him in the media and other sources. Rallies were organized here, people were forced to speak against him, other unsightly measures were taken. Despite this, the Azerbaijani people rallied around him on that tragic day again. In fact, it was there that on 21 January he blamed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the head of the Soviet state, condemned this crime and raised his voice of justice.
The collapse of the Soviet Union was still two years away, and no-one could have imagined that the Soviet Union could fall apart. So that step, that example of patriotism showed again how much Heydar Aliyev was attached to his nation and what a brave and fair personality he was. Of course, as an experienced politician he realized that he would come under great pressure and that his life might be in danger. And so it happened. Had he stayed in Moscow a bit longer, he would have been arrested. He came to Azerbaijan, to Baku. But the then leaders did not allow him to live in Baku, so he had to leave for his native Nakhchivan. The people of Nakhchivan greeted him with a great deal of enthusiasm. It was also the case in Baku. I remember him going for a walk in Baku at that time. He was followed by thousands of people. Wherever he went, they followed him.
The then leadership was even alarmed and sent the police, saying that you are allegedly staging a public action here. And he said, " I am not staging any actions. I am walking, and people are following me." In other words, the Azerbaijani people loved Heydar Aliyev with all their hearts, and this love was underpinned by the hard work he had done in the 1970s and early 1980s and by his fair position on the tragic days for our people.
In Nakhchivan, Heydar Aliyev was first elected a member of Parliament of the Autonomous Republic and then of the Parliament of Azerbaijan. After that, the people elected him chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan. At that time, the opinion of the Azerbaijani leadership already made no difference, and the people of Nakhchivan displayed true patriotism, courage and wisdom.
The period in Nakhchivan was also very productive. It was very difficult and, at the same time, very nice, because the activity of Heydar Aliyev in Nakhchivan played a major role on the road to independence. It was on his initiative and under his leadership that the tricolor flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was approved in Nakhchivan as the official state flag and an appeal to the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan was passed requesting adoption of this flag as the official flag of Azerbaijan. It was in Nakhchivan that the referendum on preserving the Soviet Union was not conducted – Heydar Aliyev did not allow this to happen. The name of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was changed and the name of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was approved. Those were different paths leading to independence. It is no coincidence that that the future of Azerbaijani statehood was determined in those years, because the people represented in the leadership in Baku at that time thought only about their own interests. They didn’t care about national interests. As a result, in 1993, when civil war began in Azerbaijan, the people turned to the great leader again and invited him to take political power. They elected him president. Thus, Azerbaijan embarked on a period of creation, stability and development. Stability was provided, an end was put to civil war, illegal armed groups were disarmed and Azerbaijan embarked on a path of reforms. It was in those years that the foundations of statehood were laid. But the anti-national forces were reluctant to give up their dirty intentions. In 1994 and 1995, attempts were made to stage a coup. Those attempts were orchestrated by external forces. This is no secret either. And the people of Azerbaijan under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev put an end to those attempts again, and masterminds of those attempts were punished.
In 1995, the situation was completely stabilized, the Constitution of the independent Azerbaijan was adopted, the rule of law was established, the implementation of economic and political reforms and Heydar Aliyev’s oil strategy began. This underlies the successful development of Azerbaijan.
The 1993-2003 period will remain in history as a period of stability and development. The strategic decisions of Heydar Aliyev determined the directions of the country’s strategic development. At that time, we had different choices and could create one state system of government or another. The popular authority of Heydar Aliyev was so high that he could introduce any state system. But as someone who was a member of the Communist Party for many years and left it after the bloody January events, he chose the path of democracy and development of the market economy. For him it was a very serious choice, because he had matured in a completely different public and political environment. From a young age, as a representative of that time, he served the Soviet Union, his people and the Communist Party. So it was a very difficult choice for him. This choice was based on his wisdom and strategic outlook for the future, and today Azerbaijan is a free, democratic and law-governed state.
Azerbaijan has all the freedoms, political reforms are carried out, democratic development is well under way. Today, Azerbaijan is one of the global leaders in terms of democratic development. This strategic choice was made in the mid-1990s, and today we remain committed to the political course of the great leader and further reinforce positive trends.
After 2003, a new period began. In essence, it was a logical continuation of the previous period. The Azerbaijani people said their wise word at the crucial moment again. The people voted for the policy of Heydar Aliyev and for his followers, because they wanted this policy to continue. They did not want any more chaos, anarchy, tyranny, lack of culture and robbery. The Azerbaijani people deserved a happy life. The Azerbaijani people remembered 1991, 1992 and early 1993. Who governed Azerbaijan? What primitive forces came to power! In fact, they seized power by force. Those are black pages of our history. Incompetence, inability, lack of culture, indecision, cowardice, hypocrisy – these are the qualities of the then Azerbaijani leaders. The Azerbaijani people did not want a return to those dark days. People wanted to live in peace, our country to develop and stability not to be disrupted. People made the right choice by voting for the policy of Heydar Aliyev again. I am sure that the people of Azerbaijan have been convinced again that they made the right choice.
Azerbaijan is developing today. Today, our independent state is going through its most successful period. In its long history Azerbaijan has never been as strong as it is now. The reforms under way in Azerbaijan are contributing to the further development of our people. The Azerbaijani state is built on a solid foundation. National and spiritual values are the key condition. We are committed to our national and spiritual values. They are above everything else for us. This is a solid foundation. Our national ideology was formed by great leader Heydar Aliyev. We are developing and enriching this ideology. The ideology of Azerbaijanism exists as a model.
The world knows how inter-religious and intercultural relations are regulated in Azerbaijan. Our experience is being studied. It is no coincidence that Azerbaijan has become one of the world centers in this area. Our international credibility is very high. Azerbaijan is a country enjoying great respect, sympathy and trust in the world. Otherwise, the vast majority of the international community would not support us.
This is clearly borne out by the international events held in Azerbaijan today. In the last two weeks alone Baku has hosted the Nizami Ganjavi International Forum and the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank. The first event was attended by representatives from more than 60 countries. Among them were many current and former heads of state and government, mainly from Europe.
A few days later Baku hosted the annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank. It also brought together the most high-ranking officials from nearly 70 countries. So in a matter of two weeks Azerbaijan entertained the most advanced, the most prominent and influential persons from about 130 countries. During numerous meetings held on the sidelines of these events, all of these people spoke with great admiration and surprise about Azerbaijan: we had no idea that Azerbaijan was such a developed country, we had no idea that Azerbaijan was such a rich country and that Baku such a beautiful city. They all noted that. This is what the present-day Azerbaijan is like.
Today Azerbaijan multiplies its credibility on a global scale, because it demonstrates a principled position on every matter. We have an independent policy on every issue. It is impossible to influence our policy. I think that this is known to everyone already. Attempts have been and probably will be made. But the effectiveness of these attempts is equal to zero. Why? Because the Azerbaijani state is built on a solid foundation and because there is a unity between the people and the government! The main source of our strength is the people of Azerbaijan. Visitors to Azerbaijan often wonder: what is the secret of this rapid development? There is such development and security, people are smiling and there is a wonderful atmosphere. What is the secret? You know, it is impossible to explain this within the frames of one meeting. There are many reasons for that.
But the main reason is the unity between the people and the government. If it is there, there will be everything, if not, nothing will help: energy resources, foreign exchange reserves or the army. Looking at the events taking place in various regions today, we can see that where there is no unity, it is impossible to maintain stability by artificial means. But in order to achieve and strengthen the unity between the people and the government, one must serve the nation. I would put it in a nutshell like this: it is necessary to serve the nation like the great leader did. He always served his people. We are also trying to follow in his footsteps. The present-day Azerbaijani realities show that we are going down this path successfully.
Our international authority will continue to grow. Azerbaijan is a valuable member of the international community. As a result of our plans, our influence opportunities will grow even wider.
We need the influence opportunities in order to secure the interests of Azerbaijan and to simultaneously achieve what we want in matters of regional cooperation. We are interested in cooperation, mutual benefit and mutual support. We have no other intentions. Therefore, Azerbaijan has become a very important country in issues of regional development, regional security and energy security.
International authority, economic development, energy security, the implementation of infrastructure projects - all these are Azerbaijani realities. The Azerbaijani leadership has elaborate and prudent programs and development strategy on every single issue. How are we going to develop our country in the future? We have all programs associated with that. This is regularly reported in the media and enjoys popular support.
A few days later Azerbaijan will host the First European Games and in 2017 the Islamic Solidarity Games. This is also an excellent indicator of the uniqueness of our country.
Azerbaijan is a country located between Asia and Europe. This geographical position, of course, leaves a mark on our history and our present situation. We are trying to make the best of this geographical location. Our geographical location could have brought us misfortune and tragedy. But as a result of a deliberate, bold and calibrated foreign policy we have turned this favorable location into a positive factor. We are turning it into a positive factor. A growing number of countries want to cooperate with us. This multiplies our credibility and value.
The fact that both European and Islamic Games will be held here in a matter of two years is a unique indicator. It does not exist elsewhere and perhaps will never be the case.
It is also clear that this rapid development is not universally welcomed. The absolute majority of the Azerbaijani people support all our initiatives. We fully see the support for our foreign and domestic policies. But there are circles that can’t come to terms with our success and envy our development. We openly talk about this with representatives of these circles and inform our people about this, because the Azerbaijani people should know what is happening. We do not conceal anything in connection with Azerbaijan’s foreign policy. The Azerbaijani people must know everything.
I know that the Azerbaijani people are frustrated with the unfounded claims and accusations being made against us. These accusations have no basis. They are artificial. The circles making such claims do not look in the mirror in the morning. But it would be nice if they did. Instead of accusing someone else, it would be useful to look at your own life first.
In fact, these campaigns have never stopped. They simply become more apparent in the run-up to important events. Three years ago, on the eve of the "Eurovision" song contest, Azerbaijan was at the center of dirty campaigns of blackmail and slander. We remember that too well. And now we are faced with the same picture. But it had no effect and value then. Neither does it have any now, as thousands of athletes who will come to Baku together with their delegations will see with their own eyes what the Azerbaijan state is capable of. They will see what we have created in the years of independence and how the people of Azerbaijan live.
The Azerbaijanis are a free and proud people faithful to their national values. The Azerbaijani public sees these positive changes and takes them with approval.
Therefore, I want to say again from this high podium and on a date very dear to me that we should not attach any importance to all this. This will not affect our policy. Our policy can only be influenced by the Azerbaijani people and their will. We run our country through the will of the Azerbaijani people. National interests are above everything else for us. We will continue to stick to our position of principle. We will continue to work hard on the development of our country and the well-being of our people. We will remain loyal to the political course of the great leader. The state independence of Azerbaijan is our biggest asset and the biggest happiness. I have repeatedly said this and I want to say it again: previous generations lived with the dream of independence, but only we have been lucky enough to see it with our own eyes. We have been lucky to see it. At the same time, we were destined to develop our independent state and lead it forward. This is a great happiness and a great responsibility.
I am sure that the Azerbaijani people will remain faithful to the political course of the great leader and will develop fast. Azerbaijan will strengthen its independence. Ours is a path of justice, development and progress. I wish all the people of Azerbaijan continued progress along this journey. Thank you.
X X X
Then the ceremony to present the “Heydar Aliyev” award was held.
First President Ilham Aliyev`s order to confer “Heydar Aliyev” award upon People's Artist of Azerbaijan Tahir Salahov was read out.
President Ilham Aliyev presented the award to Tahir Salahov.
The ceremony featured demonstration of a documentary on national leader Heydar Aliyev`s activities.
Winners of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s “Gizil chinar” international award 2015 were announced.
Azerbaijan`s first lady Mehriban Aliyeva handed “Gizil chinar” international awards to famous cultural expert Herve Mikaeloff for his support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s implemented projects in the field of culture and his active participation in promotion of Azerbaijan`s culture, and People's Artist, prominent figure of mugham art Aghakhan Abdullayev for the protection of ancient mugham heritage, development of school of mugham performance, training of a new generation of mugham performers, and his contribution to the development of Azerbaijani culture.
Addressing the event, Herve Mikaeloff and Aghakhan Abdullayev thanked for the award.
The solemn ceremony was followed by a concert.