Baku, August 14, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has been interviewed by CNN Turk TV channel.
AZERTAC presents the interview.
Correspondent: Dear viewers, Greetings from CNN Turk. We as CNN Turk are currently in Baku, Azerbaijan, to find out what the situation in Azerbaijan will be like after the Karabakh Victory. We will address all questions of interest to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
First of all, thank you very much for hosting us, Mr. Aliyev.
President Ilham Aliyev: Welcome.
- It is a pleasure to see you. Karabakh was, in fact, a region under occupation for 30 years. But at the end of 30 years, the Victory was won for the first time and you approached a solution to this problem. How would you assess that?
-This is a historic Victory for us. Because, as you mentioned, our lands had been under occupation for 30 years. This was a great injustice and a situation that contradicted all the norms and principles of international law. Unfortunately, for 30 years, the Minsk Group did not come close to resolving this issue. There was some activity, but there was no result in the end. The result was zero and the hopes of the Azerbaijani people were completely dashed. Because if the negotiations remain fruitless for 30 years, this means that the process of freezing this issue is going on. Of course, we never intended to put up with this situation. I have repeatedly said in recent years that the people of Azerbaijan will never come to terms with this situation, that we will liberate our native lands from occupiers at any cost, and so it happened. My words were materialized, and Azerbaijan started the War of Salvation, liberated its historical lands from the occupiers, restored historical justice, expelled the occupiers from our lands and restored its territorial integrity.
- Armenia has always displayed an aggressive approach, and its firing on residential settlements could have actually provoked Azerbaijan to do the same. However, Azerbaijan acted with patience and restraint and did not retaliate. What is the course of action for you in this regard?
-Indeed, Armenia always committed various provocations against us during the negotiating process and we saw this at different stages of the discussions. As soon as there was some progress in the negotiations, military provocations were immediately committed. They attacked us, the civilian population, thus disrupting the negotiations. Before the second Karabakh war, in July and August, they carried out a similar military aggression. In July, our civilians and the military came under artillery fire. As a result, we had losses. In August, they sent a sabotage group to Azerbaijan and tried to commit acts of terror here. This sabotage group was also neutralized. As you know, after that, in September, they fired on our villages and military positions again. As a result, on the first day of the war, we had casualties among the civilian population and servicemen. Of course, they had to be stopped, and it was.
During the second Karabakh war, Armenia began to be defeated on the battlefield from day one. Every single day for 44 days, we were moving forward. There wasn’t a single day when we would take a step back. We did not step back even for maneuvering purposes. Realizing its imminent defeat, Armenia constantly fired at our cities and villages with ballistic missiles and artillery to stop us and inflict great damage on the civilian population. As a result, more than 100 civilians, including women and children, were killed. There are these images. Ganja, Barda, Aghdam, Goranboy, Naftalan, Tartar, Fuzuli and other cities were fired at every day. About 20,000 rockets landed on the city of Tartar – not a big city. But they could not break the will of the Azerbaijani people. People who lost their loved ones, relatives and friends were saying that we should only move forward. In other words, this inhuman behavior of the Armenians did not bring them any benefit. They just showed themselves as savages in the eyes of the world once again. We did not respond to that. This is why the losses among the civilian population on the Armenian side are very small, about 30, and the vast majority of them were involved in the hostilities. There is also video footage of that. We saw that there were civilians near some artillery installations and, of course, they lost their lives when we fired at them. There was no destruction in the Karabakh region – in the places occupied by Armenians and places they lived in. In other words, this shows again that we fought the war with dignity and followed all the rules of war.
- As CNN Turk, we have met with the people here – people from Shusha, Aghdam, Jabrayil and other districts. All of them have longed for their homeland for many years, and now they all want to go there again, to return to their homeland. These people have suffered a lot. Inshallah, their faces will always smile from now on and they will never experience such pain again. What would you say to that?
-Of course, their joy is ours too. The happiest days for me are when I see their joy. Of course, people who have longed for their homeland for 30 years want to return to their homeland as soon as possible. But they also know very well that all the houses and all the cities there are destroyed. You will go to the regions now, you will visit them and see that there is no city of Aghdam. More than 30,000 people lived in Aghdam. There is not a single safe building left in the city. In other words, all the buildings were destroyed by Armenian savages during the occupation. The same applies to Fuzuli city, all other cities and villages. People travel hundreds of kilometers and see along the way that everything around them, everything on all sides is destroyed. In other words, there is nowhere to return to. At the same time, Armenians planted hundreds of thousands of mines there. Since the war ended on 10 November, more than 150 civilians and servicemen have been killed or injured by landmines. Therefore, demining work must be carried out and is currently underway. Armenia won’t give us maps of minefields, and the accuracy of the maps provided at the latest stage is only 25 percent. So here, too, they are acting insincerely. We cannot put people's lives at risk. Therefore, demining and infrastructure work is underway in the liberated lands – in Karabakh and East Zangazur. When you go there, you will see large infrastructure projects – roads, power lines, water lines, airports, railways. After all, life cannot return there without all this. At the same time, the master plan of Aghdam was approved on 28 May, on our Independence Day, and work is already underway there.
We are now inviting journalists, public figures and other local and foreign citizens to those areas, creating opportunities for them. At the same time, we will take the people who used to live there in the near future so that they can see those places. But we need time to return there. Because Armenians had been destroying those places for 30 years, and today, of course, it will take time to restore them. Our main rival here is time. Sufficient funds have been raised and mobilized for the reconstruction of Karabakh and East Zangazur, but our main rival is time, and everyone should understand that time is needed here as well. But we will return our citizens as soon as possible. The first pilot project is already underway. A project connecting three villages of Zangilan district will be completed by the end of this year or early next year. Recently, the plans of several more villages were submitted to me and approved. We will implement these village projects in the near future and gradually return people to the regions.
- I would now like to talk about Armenia. Despite his defeat, Nikol Pashinyan has been re-elected. Under what conditions will Azerbaijani-Armenian relations enter the next process
-It is very difficult to say that. Because we have repeatedly stated our position. I have repeatedly stated that we want a peace agreement with Armenia. Let Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize each other's territorial integrity and begin the process of delimitation, i.e. demarcation of borders. But we have not received a positive response from Armenia yet. It seems that Armenia is not ready for this or is opposed to it. I said that it would be a huge blunder and that they would regret it. Because we do not have to keep this proposal on the table forever. If they object to it, let them say it openly that they do not want to sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan. In this case, we will pursue our policy accordingly. If Armenia is ready for this, if it is ready to recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, which is recognized by the whole world, then, of course, long-term peace will come to the region. We want it, and at the same time, specific proposals to achieve it are already on the table. It is in our interests to open roads, establish the Zangazur corridor, restore all trade relations, i.e. bring peace to the South Caucasus after a long break. I think that this is also in the interests of Armenia. Because the Zangazur corridor will also serve their interests. They can also communicate with both Iran and Russia by rail. So far, this connection does not exist and this will be a new opportunity for them.
However, the ideology of extreme nationalism, Turkophobia, Azerbaijanophobia, Islamophobia has poisoned the minds of people and the ruling circles in Armenia such badly that they cannot say it even if they want to. Of course, the Armenian society and government are in a very difficult psychological situation. Because their ideological pillars of the past 30 years have been shattered, their mythology has been blown to smithereens. We crushed the “victorious” Armenian army in a matter of 44 days. Their territorial claims have been crushed.
--As a matter of fact, in 44 days you returned the lands they had occupied over the course of five years.
-Yes, of course, and in a very difficult situation. You will go and see those places now. They built six lines of fortifications, a line of defense, and it took great skill and heroism to break through it. Our servicemen were ready to die. At the same time, the geography and local terrain of that region were favorable for them. Because they were in the mountains, they had taken all the heights, whereas we had to go up. Now you will go to Shusha and see that capturing Shusha was a miracle.
- I was going to ask you about that. Because your father had a special will regarding Shusha.
-My father's will was not only about Shusha, it was about all the lands that were under occupation at the time. After Shusha was liberated, I visited my father's grave and said that I had fulfilled his will. It was probably the happiest days of my life. Shusha, of course, is such a native and dear city for every Azerbaijani. It has a great symbolic meaning. It is no coincidence that I declared Shusha the Capital of Culture of Azerbaijan. But all other cities are as dear and native to me and to all the people of Azerbaijan as Shusha. Every inch of land is our land, and we had to liberate them. This was our duty to the people, to history, to future generations, and we have fulfilled this duty with dignity.
-You mentioned Zangazur a little earlier. Could the opening of a corridor there actually strengthen economic ties with Turkey?
-Of course, the opening of this corridor serves many purposes. Azerbaijan and Turkey will join a new transport project. As you know, the official opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway took place in Baku four years ago. Thanks to this railway, we were linked with Turkey. The Zangazur corridor will be the second connection. This will usher new opportunities for us. At the same time, Azerbaijan will be connected to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which is an integral part of it, by rail. We also demand that a highway be built - in the Mehri region of Western Zangazur, which is under Armenian control. This is absolutely necessary.
Unfortunately, Armenia is opposed to that. Until recently they had been opposed to the opening of the Zangazur corridor. Just that a few days ago, some positive opinion was expressed there that they do not object to it. However, the full operation of the Zangazur corridor requires both a railway and a highway. We should be able to get in a car in Baku and comfortably go to Turkey and Nakhchivan.
This will also create new opportunities for countries of the region. Turkey will be able to transport its goods to Central Asia using a shorter route way. So it can become a new transport project for Eurasia. We have already put forward this initiative. We have also named this corridor the Zangazur corridor. It has already been included in the international lexicon. I know that the European Union is also very positive about this issue. During a recent visit of the President of the European Council, Mr. Charles Michel, to Baku, we had a broad exchange of views on this issue, and they, of course, strongly support this project.
In other words, this will be a new opportunity for Turkey, Azerbaijan, the region and Armenia. I have already said that they can connect with Russia and Iran by this railway. Because the construction of the Armenian-Iranian railway has been discussed for 20 years perhaps. And yet nothing is happening because this project requires at least $3 billion. However, they can use the territory of Nakhchivan – there is already a railway line between Nakhchivan and Iran.
-Another important corridor is the Lachin corridor now. There is a certain claim and I would like to find out from you how accurate it is. There is a claim that the Armenian foreign minister is sending troops to Karabakh via the Lachin corridor. Is this claim true?
-Unfortunately, this is true, of course. We have recently identified this. Our Defense Ministry made an official statement a few days ago to put an end to this. Weapons and servicemen cannot be sent from Armenia to the territories controlled by Russian peacekeeping forces. This contradicts the 10 November trilateral Statement. Unfortunately, it continues to this day. We have repeatedly expressed our position verbally. But since it did not work, we officially declared it.
The Lachin corridor is right before our eyes. When in Shusha, you can see the Lachin corridor. There is a place there and all the cars can be seen from above. The distance from there is probably 10 meters. Of course, we have technical means and cameras there. We are also following the events in the Lachin corridor and in the areas controlled by Russian peacekeeping forces. We know the exact number of cars going to Khankandi. Recently, there were reports in our media, including the fact that in the last month - from 11 July to 8 August, about 5,000 people left Khankandi for Armenia but did not return. About 20,000 people left the city and 15,000 people entered it. So we even know the number of people. Of course, this must stop. There is no logical basis for this. Is Armenia preparing for a new war? If so, we will take preventive measures. I have said this and I want to say again that if Armenian fascism tries to raise its head ever again, we will crush it again. The defeat in the second Karabakh war should be a lesson for them.
-The situation in the South Caucasus is changing now. A 3+3 format is now being discussed in this regard. What is your attitude to that?
-I have a positive attitude. I have repeatedly discussed this issue with my dear brother, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and our positions coincide. We support this format and hope that other countries join it too. I know that the Georgian side is not ready for that because there are no diplomatic relations between Georgia and Russia. This is the position of Georgia, and we must respect this position. Nevertheless, the relations between countries of the region are very important for regional cooperation, for stability and for reducing the risk of future war to zero. Specific projects can also be discussed. After all, this is not just a political initiative. First of all, in addition to the opening of the Zangazur corridor and other roads – because we are not talking only about the Zangazur corridor – we may have other transport projects with Armenia. Then comes the restoration of trade relations and ensuring long-term peace in the South Caucasus. In other words, all these are very important issues. We have already completed our historical mission. We do not need a new war. We consider Armenians living in the territory controlled by the Russian peacekeeping mission to be Azerbaijani citizens who have lost their way. They are not too many. According to accurate information, their number is less than 25,000. Of course, they must also be integrated into Azerbaijani society. Azerbaijan is a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional country, and many peoples live here like one family, including the Armenians. There are Armenians living in Baku today.
-You also have a culture. There is an Armenian church here, and it has not been touched or damaged.
-Yes, on the contrary, we have repaired it. It is located in the center of the city, and if anyone goes there, they will see that there are about 5,000 Armenian books in it. But look what they have done to our mosques? For comparison, more than 60 of our mosques have been demolished. Therefore, the Armenians living in Khankandi and surrounding villages today must be integrated into our society, which will create greater opportunities for them. In general, first steps must be taken to establish trilateral relations between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia in the South Caucasus, and we are ready for that.
-Karabakh is actually in a very important position for Azerbaijan and other countries. Do you have any expectations from Russia in this new situation? And where do you think Iran is in this situation?
-Our expectations from Russia are that all the provisions of the trilateral Statement will be implemented. Because this trilateral Statement was signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia, and most of them have already been implemented. But there are some issues that still remain outstanding. This is our expectation. Russia, as a neighbor of Azerbaijan and a close ally of Armenia, certainly plays a special role in this region. This is natural. We hope that Russia continues to spare no effort for the security of the region and take steps to ensure lasting peace. At the same time, our expectation is that Russia will not arm Armenia. We have brought this issue to the attention of Russian officials. We are worried about that. The war is over. The people of Armenia have come to terms with this situation. The Armenian government has also come to terms with its own defeat and the recent parliamentary elections in Armenia showed that. So the people have already given preference to a defeated party. This is an unprecedented sight in history when a defeated party receives popular support.
Under such circumstances, of course, it does not make any sense to arm Armenia. We do not see it happening yet, but there have been some statements by Russia. A few days ago, during a meeting with the Armenian defense minister, the Russian defense minister said that the process of sending Russian weapons to Armenia had begun. This is a very worrying issue. Also, Armenia’s new minister of defense made very irresponsible statements that if the Azerbaijani side trespassed the Armenian border by one centimeter, then they would open fire. In other words, it seems that the second Karabakh war has not been a lesson for everyone yet. If this is the case, then we are ready to teach them another lesson. Therefore, we hope that Russia does not arm Armenia because there is no need for that.
The area in Khankandi under the control of the Russian peacekeeping mission is now a safe area. At the same time, the situation on our border with Armenia is sometimes worrying, but in general it is stable. Therefore, of course, we want Russia to take into account our concerns in this matter. Because no matter how many weapons are given, the balance of powers will not change. Over the past 30 years, Russia provided Armenia with billions of dollars worth of free weapons – some of which are now on display in our Military Trophy Park– but the Armenian army has been completely dismantled. We will allocate as much money as we need to arm our army, and we did that. We simply think that the war is over and there is no need for that. We were not and are not the ones who initiated the process of rearmament of the region. We hope that other partners take appropriate steps.
My answer to your question about Iran is that a new leadership has come to power in this country. Their policy on the region is being developed. No appointments have been made yet. Of course, the initial statements about both Azerbaijan and neighboring countries are positive. But, of course, it will take time for the new leadership to state its policy on this issue and the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. We look forward to that.
-I would like to return to the issue you mentioned about Russia. In fact, one of the reasons why the second Karabakh war ended in victory is that Azerbaijan has demonstrated a legitimate position. Over the past 30 years, Azerbaijan has developed both its defense potential and its Army's combat capability, and has not taken the wrong position as Armenia did. Azerbaijan was very patient and restrained. Do you think that this factor had any influence on the victory?
-Of course, many factors have played a role here. First of all, of course, the determination of our people, their uncompromising position and our policy. I have been president for almost 18 years, and for all these years I have been saying that we must and we will liberate our lands at any cost. We simply had to do it at the right time, and we did it. We couldn’t afford to make a mistake because this is historical responsibility, and therefore our timely steps have led to such an outcome. The uncompromising spirit of the people is, of course, one of the primary factors. Because we had not forgotten Karabakh. Even the kids who have never seen Karabakh and were born in tent camps lived with a dream and desire to return to their homeland. It was thousands of young people like that who were ready to die.
Of course, the strengthening of our army, the weapons, equipment and ammunition are also among the key factors. In recent years, weapons based on the most modern technology have been purchased and the professionalism of our army has further increased. Because weapons and technology solve many problems, of course. But it is soldiers who liberate the land and raise the flag there. If they do not go to war with enthusiasm, no weapon can help you. These factors led us to Victory. Our military strategy and the acquisition of weapons served one goal – to liberate these lands with minimal losses, and this is exactly what happened. No-one could believe that our losses were less than 3,000 people. Everyone's life is precious, but the fact that only 2,900 people were killed in this large-scale operation shows, of course, that we tried to protect the lives of every soldier until the last moment.
- Some massacres have stories that are particularly heartbreaking. As a matter of fact, they run counter to humanity. Could the non-enforcement of international law in relation to Armenia be one of the reasons for this problem not being resolved?
-Of course, double standards play the key role here, because the Khojaly genocide took place right before the eyes of the world. This is an event of recent history. However, many countries do not want to see it, and only 13 countries have recognized the Khojaly massacre as an act of genocide. Of course, this is also a great achievement because when I came to power, the number of these countries was zero. In other words, our efforts, as well as our proper campaigning, awareness-raising steps, exhibitions and presentations have played an important role in conveying the truth about the victims of Khojaly to many countries. Of course, we have relations with other countries. We have gained many allies in recent years. However, the countries that recognize the so-called “Armenian genocide”, that far-fetched “genocides” do not want to recognize the Khojaly genocide. They accept fake history. It is clear that the main factor here is political. But it is an injustice to ignore a real genocide. We have been living with this injustice for a long time. We have grown accustomed to it and are not surprised. Our main goal is to achieve our goals. The number one goal for us was the liberation of Karabakh and East Zangazur. This was our historic mission. All our resources were mobilized. We marched towards this goal day and night, and we finally reached it. Now there are new goals. These goals are to strengthen the Victory, to ensure the security of Azerbaijan, to rebuild the liberated lands and to prevent the rise of Armenian revanchist forces.
-These are what you are currently planning to do after Victory. Turkey sent support in the second Karabakh war in the form of attack UAVs.
-Turkey has provided us with all-round support, not only attack UAVs. First of all, in the early hours of the second Karabakh war, the resolute statements by my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan played a great positive role. He said that Turkey stands by Azerbaijan, that Turkey provides and will continue to provide political and moral support to Azerbaijan in its just cause. That meant a lot. Because it prevented many from interfering. It was impossible to predict how some countries would behave. The political position of some countries during the second Karabakh war shows that they were on the side of Armenia. They were on the side of the forces of evil, on the side of the occupier, the oppressor, the savage. No explanations or words based on logic affected their position. They did not want to see the real truth and accused us, as if we were the occupiers. I said that we were fighting on our own land. The UN Charter gives us this right. Every country can defend itself, and this right has been granted to us by the United Nations. Nevertheless, there was a vicious slander campaign against us. We know who was behind it. Therefore, the statements of the President of Turkey and other high-ranking officials – defense, foreign ministers, the speaker of parliament – deterred many, of course. Of course, modern weapons purchased from Turkey, including the UAVs, greatly facilitated our work and prevented many casualties. Because if we hadn’t had those weapons, our work would have been more difficult and there would have been more martyrs, of course. However, we received not only attack UAVs from Turkey, but also other weapons – “Hurricanes”, military vehicles, “Cobras”. In other words, there are many weapons, and this process continues. Turkey's defense industry is developing very fast, and, of course, we also benefit and will benefit from it.
-In fact, there was such solidarity. Unfortunately, there have been endless fires in Turkey in recent days. The Republic of Turkey seriously fought against the fires. But there was also great support from Azerbaijan. Can we say that solidarity between the two countries will be continued in such natural disasters and difficult times?
-Of course, this is natural. That is, we have said this many times. I have said many times that there are no countries in the world that would be as close to each other as Turkey and Azerbaijan. If you want to do a search, you can't find it. No! This unity, solidarity and brotherhood is not in words, but in deeds. I have always said that relations between countries should be based on actual deeds. Because everyone can say good words and make good speeches on good days. But you should be able to come and stand by on a difficult day too. Just as Turkey stood by us in the second Karabakh war. I am sure that without the Turkish factor, pro-Armenian forces, countries and supporters of the Armenians would have poked their noses and created major problems for us. It is only natural that we show solidarity and help each other. Because Turkey is a native country for us, and so is Azerbaijan for you. The Shusha Declaration my dear brother and I have signed is the culmination of this. In other words, our relations have risen to the level of an alliance. Therefore, as soon as we heard about these fires, we took immediate action, sent our personnel and vehicles. I spoke with the President on the phone several times, and we quickly sent both additional personnel and vehicles. We have only one amphibious aircraft, which, unfortunately, was being repaired. I ordered for the repairs to be completed quickly so that we could send it. The repairs were scheduled to last another two months. But we put it in good condition in a week and sent it there. We sent 93 fire trucks and more than 700 firefighters to Turkey. They did not need any special training because they treated this tragedy as their own and worked there as brothers. Thank God, as far as I know, the fires have subsided, and this has once again shown our unity. It showed again that cooperation and solidarity should not be in words. I don't want to go too deep into the detail, but I think the Turkish people saw who is who. Good words, statements and expressions of support from some countries, unfortunately, did not go any further than that.
- I am here now. You mentioned it a little earlier. I feel as if I am in my own country. I did not feel alien, as if I was in my own state. But there is a very nice point that caught my attention. Wherever we go, we see the Turkish flag flying right next to the Azerbaijani flag, and everywhere we go we receive a warm welcome. Mr. President, what do you think about this? What is the approach here? It is something I have experienced and am very pleased with. What is it based on? On our roots? Do we continue like this because we have the same roots?
-You know, this did not happen overnight. You mentioned that this is your first time in Azerbaijan. But if you had come here in the past, you would have seen that this is natural for us. For all these years, we have made great effort to strengthen the Turkish-Azerbaijani unity. You know, there are many countries in the world with similar history, culture and ethnic roots. We are surrounded by countries whose languages are similar and whose ethnic roots are close. But notice what the relations between these countries are like. Some are enemies of one another. In other words, a common history and common ethnic roots do not mean that countries and their peoples should be brotherly. It is a manifestation of a great policy. Over the past 18 years, both Turkey and Azerbaijan have formed a common policy. Before that, in my father's time, he made this famous statement, “One nation, two states”. Everyone knows this now. But some may not know that the author of these words is Heydar Aliyev. He said these words. These words are a guiding light for us. True to this testament and these words, we have strengthened our relations in all directions, raised them to a higher level. You can see during your contacts with people how much love and affection there is for Turkey here. This has always been the case. But in the second Karabakh war, it increased even more because the people of Azerbaijan saw very well who his real friend and brother is. The countries next to us were Turkey and Pakistan. We did not hear expression of support from certain countries. However, we were right. I repeat that we were restoring our territorial integrity. Therefore, it is natural for the Turkish and Azerbaijani flags to fly together. Our unity is eternal. The new generation, the young generation, your generation must follow our path. Because we have laid this foundation, lead the way, created a very strong alliance, created an unshakable unity. But politics is an area you have to work on every day. There should be no gaps for anyone to enter. Because there are some countries like that. Turkish-Azerbaijani unity is already a regional factor. Maybe someday it will become a global factor because we are already forming allied relations with other countries. This worries certain countries. They will try to go between us, they will try to provoke, create some fabrications. Therefore, the next generation must follow this path. This path must be eternal.
- We talked a lot about your father Heydar Aliyev today. I want to remember Heydar Aliyev with respect and gratitude. I hope I don’t cross any boundaries if I ask a question that interests me a lot. It will be my last question. You had a rhetorical statement after the victory: what happened, Pashinyan? In fact, I will say this quite sincerely, it made us all very happy, laughing and emotional. It was a very nice statement. It was a statement you made for the public. But how did you celebrate this joy at home and in your private life?
-You know, these words came out naturally.
- Something coming from within, it is very clear.
-Yes, they came from within. Because I said the words “What happened, Pashinyan?” not after the war, but during it, and then they became a meme. As a matter of fact, I want to ask this question again: What happened, Pashinyan? Let me tell you that after the war, Mehriban Aliyeva asked me at home not to say the words “What happened, Pashinyan?” again, that's it. It is all over, so let this be over too.
Of course, we were happy. Every day we had both happy and sad moments. Because from the first day of the war, we already won. On the first day of the war, several villages were liberated, which gave our army enthusiasm, confidence and faith. But we lost our people every day, we gave martyrs every day. The information given to me every day, those reports were burning us inside, so to speak. Every martyr is our child, every life that dies is priceless. Life is unique, death is a tragedy for relatives, parents, mothers, fathers and children. But at the same time, we had moments of victory every day. So during these 44 days, one half of our day was sad and the other half was happy. All the people of Azerbaijan were confident that we would do it.
I know that on the first days of the war some people were wondering whether we would or would not stop, whether Ilham Aliyev would go to the end or not. But as the war went on, everyone saw that there was no doing back and that we would go to the end.
During the war, along with the words “What happened, Pashinyan?”, I repeatedly told Pashinyan to give me a date, a timetable of when he would get out of our lands. And we would have stopped the war on that very day. And so it happened. On 9 November, he provided the dates and signed an act of capitulation, or the act of surrender, in the early hours of 10 November. We stopped the war, kept our word and did not go any further. In other words, unlike the Armenians, we did not carry out ethnic cleansing, did not commit war crimes, fought the war with dignity and did not target civilians. We did not even kill Armenian soldiers unnecessarily. One month after the war, a large group of saboteurs was sent to our lands. They were arrested but they could have been killed. Although they had killed four of our servicemen, we did not touch them. In other words, war has its own rules, and everything must be done with dignity. Dignity should be one of the main principles in war, civil life, domestic life, home, work and politics. Therefore, in the current situation, of course, we have other plans. But the second Karabakh war will remain in the history of the Azerbaijani people forever.
-Mr. President, thank you very much for this information. Thank you again for your time.
-Thank you. I would also like to thank CNN Turk specifically because your correspondents were in the hottest spots in the second Karabakh war, broadcasting live reports under fire with great self-sacrifice, great love and affection. I can say that we rediscovered the Turkish media for ourselves in the Second Karabakh War.
-God forbid, but if it ever happens to you again, we will be by your side again. Thank you again, Mr. Aliyev.
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