Ilham Aliyev met with young people and public figures at the new Youth Center in Beylagan District

28 august 2014, 14:50

President Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of a Youth Center in Beylagan.

After reviewing the building, the head of state had a meeting with young people and public figures of the district.

President Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the meeting.

Speech by President Ilham Aliyev

- A Youth Center is opening in Beylagan District today. I heartily congratulate you on this occasion. It is a very nice facility. It has been built in a short time – within one and a half years. All conditions are available here. There are all the possibilities for the effective organization of young people’s leisure here.

Youth centers have been built in various regions of our country in recent years. This makes me very happy because our youth policy is very precise and very efficient, and it yields excellent results. The task has been set: to build a modern center for young people in every city, so that people could relax, increase their knowledge and communicate with each other.

As you know, in previous years we were closely involved in the construction of Olympic centers. This process is still under way. I want to take this opportunity to say that a modern Olympic Sports Center is also planned to be built in Beylagan District. Actually, right at this moment I am giving the instruction to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to prepare the project and soon begin the construction. The place has also been selected, so I believe that we will create a beautiful sports center soon.

The establishment of youth centers is also an integral part of our youth policy. Our youth should be physically fit and, at the same time, competent and well-educated. I can say that as a result of the establishment of Olympic centers in Azerbaijan, we are rapidly developing not only professional sports. Young people and teenagers are showing keen interest in sports and achieving excellent results. Azerbaijan is known in the world as a sporting nation today. At the latest Olympic Games we achieved a great victory – we won 10 medals and finished in 30th place in team standings. Of course, the Olympic centers operating in the regions have made a special contribution to the training of our young athletes.

I should also note that Youth Olympic Games ended in China yesterday and our young athletes achieved great victories. I congratulate them, their coaches and our entire sports community on this occasion. In the team standings Azerbaijan is in 10th place. These Olympic Games brought together more than 200 countries. And Azerbaijan finished in 10th place. Among European countries we finished in sixth place and among Muslim nations in first. We won 12 medals, including five gold ones. This shows once again how talented, strong and attached to the motherland our youth is.

The World Chess Olympiad has also been held recently. And Azerbaijani chess players also finished in the top. I can say that both in the World Chess Olympiad and in the Youth Olympic Games Azerbaijan was far ahead of Armenia. This suggests that we are stronger, we are ahead of them both physically and mentally, and this superiority manifests itself everywhere. The Armenian and Azerbaijani economies are beyond comparison. Our economy is about 20 times bigger than that of Armenia. In sports, in Olympic Games, in Youth Olympic Games and in intellectual games – we have got the upper hand everywhere. Azerbaijan has also achieved superiority on the battlefield, as Azerbaijan is imposing its will on the frontline.

The Azerbaijani public is aware that at the beginning of this month Armenia tried to stage a provocation on the frontline. But the Azerbaijani army gave a fitting rebuff to the enemy. Dozens of occupants were destroyed and their provocation failed. The reasons for this provocation are also clear. As you know, in the run-up to the Sochi meeting the Armenian leadership tried to obtain a more favorable situation and force Azerbaijan to agree to what is not in its interest. But that did not work. On the contrary, the position of Azerbaijan in Sochi sounded even stronger. Thanks to the courage of heroic Azerbaijani soldiers and officers, a devastating blow was dealt to the enemy, and they are still recovering from it.

There is panic and fear in Armenia. They acknowledge even at the highest level that there is a massive exodus from the country. To be more exact, this process has been under way for a long time now, but the latest developments on the frontline have accelerated it even further. Tens of thousands of Armenian citizens are leaving their country for good, and the recent events have given a new impetus to this process. However, the Armenian government has resorted to various ways to explain this trend. Recently it has even admitted that the main reason for that is the strong Diaspora and the Karabakh conflict. In other words, the Armenian government already admits that the main reason for the demographic crisis is fear. Armenian society is in fear.

Of course, the strengthening Azerbaijan, the strong Azerbaijani army and the heroic Azerbaijani soldiers are a constant source of fear for them. To eliminate this fear Armenia should simply abide by international law and unconditionally withdraw from the occupied lands. This is required by four UN Security Council resolutions. I am confident that we will restore our territorial integrity. International law supports our position. Azerbaijan enjoys authority on a global scale, we are reckoned with and have a strong say. Our international credibility is at a high level today.

We are by far ahead of Armenia economically. In terms of military capabilities, the Azerbaijani army is one of the strongest armies not only in comparison with the Armenian, but also on a global scale. Our strength is growing every day. As you know, we are allocating and will continue to allocate major funds. Military expenditure is the main item of our state budget, and this will be the case in the coming years too. We will carry on increasing our spending. The professionalism of our army is growing, the patriotic spirit is high and the Azerbaijani society is rallied around a single idea. It is the development of Azerbaijan, the process of building a modern state and return of our occupied territories. Young people should, of course, make a special contribution to this cause.

I am glad that our youth is patriotic and is raised and educated in a national spirit. This is very important. In the course of numerous meetings with young people I pay particular attention to these issues. Our young people should be knowledgeable because knowledge and competence can help achieve anything in the modern world.

If we look at the experience of developed countries, we can see that their success is underpinned by the intellectual potential, technological progress, the development of science and education. In the future, these factors will play an even greater role. Today, in the economic sphere and in the development of industrial production everything depends on modern technology. Therefore, our young people should learn, acquire the knowledge and become qualified professionals. Azerbaijan has all the opportunities today. The economy of Azerbaijan is developing, new jobs are being created, industrial enterprises and service sectors are opening, and there is a great need for qualified professionals. Young people should contribute to the development of our main sectors. I want the Azerbaijani youth to play a role in the development of our core industries. Such instructions have already been given. Therefore, the knowledge and education should, of course, be a priority for every young individual, for the country, for our future and for everyone in general. If you have the knowledge and education, you will be able to find a decent place in the future, have a good job, receive a good salary and do more for yourself and for the country.

Young people, of course, must be physically fit. Of course, an important part in this is played both by the development of sports and the construction of Olympic facilities. At the same time, everyone should pay attention to his health from a young age. There are modern diagnostic centers and hospitals throughout our country now. Everyone should undergo medical examination once a year. As you know, a public health examination campaign has been held in Azerbaijan in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of people have been examined for free. As a result of this examination, of course, diseases have been identified and treatment prescribed. So physical health, knowledge, literacy and, of course, moral health are important things.

We have wonderful traditions and national values. We are protecting them and you, young people, should maintain them. This is a huge legacy, a large cultural heritage, our wealth. Our music, the art of carpet weaving, arts, literature, our native language – all of this is our biggest wealth. We have taken care of this wealth at all times – in the days of Imperial Russia and during the Soviet Union. This is why we are developing as a nation today. We have introduced ourselves to the world. Of course, in the years of independence we have to protect these values even more. There is public policy and I, as President, pay particular attention to these issues. This work is done by all government agencies and public organizations. But there must be continuity here. And this continuity will be provided by you, young people. Therefore, young people should be educated in the national spirit. We need to organize this at school and in the family. We have national traditions. We appreciate them. They form the basis of our life.

The values of Azerbaijan are our core values. Of course, we share universal human values too. Azerbaijani values form an integral part of universal human values. But there are values inherent in our own nation. We are protecting and should protect them. Of course, young people should be attached to the motherland. Azerbaijan is developing so rapidly today that every person who loves the motherland is proud to say: I am a citizen of Azerbaijan! In general, everyone should love their motherland. But in more developed countries this, of course, is manifested at a higher level. I believe that patriotism, knowledge, literacy, physical fitness, attachment to the past, and education in the national spirit should be our main factors.

Of course, our government policy is carried out in this direction. We are deepening reform. A free society has emerged in Azerbaijan. All democratic institutions are available and they operate successfully. All freedoms, including the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, the freedom of the press and free Internet, are available. There is no censorship. You as young people are well aware of that. Facebook, Twitter, the Internet. Around a million Azerbaijanis share their views or obtain information through Facebook now. This is not the case in every country. There is censorship and restrictions. Some other measures are also taken. But here it is all free because the Azerbaijani society is a free society, and it is our great achievement. As a result of the deepening of political and economic reforms, more than a million jobs have been created in Azerbaijan over the past 10 years. This process continues and must be continued because our population is growing.

In contrast to Armenia, we have a very positive demographic situation. Around 170,000-180,000 infants are born each year on average. So the creation of jobs should be an ongoing process. Population growth, of course, is a source of great strength for us. The population is growing and should grow. At the same time, this, of course, concerns the government because the creation of jobs and new businesses must go at a pace capable of keeping unemployment low. Currently, unemployment is at 5 per cent, but in some regions it is higher on average. We know that and are working on these issues. So reforms are conducted and will continue to be conducted in all areas. The successful development of our country will be ensured. But all of this work is underpinned by our national values.

Today, there are certain threats not only for us but also for all countries. Globalization and other processes are under way. Some foreign circles are trying to impose their will on others under the guise of globalization. In particular, work is carried out with young people, money is allocated through a variety of funds allegedly for the implementation of some projects. But in fact this work is aimed at setting the youth against its own state. We know that.

Today, the successful development of Azerbaijan does not go down well everywhere. Domestically too, there are national traitors who have sold their conscience to foreign anti-Azerbaijani circles. There are foreign circles trying to undermine stability in Azerbaijan, to halt our development and put Azerbaijan into dependence. We know that. As President, in my day-to-day work I openly struggle against these forces. Therefore, slander and libel campaigns are conducted against Azerbaijan in the media. The reason for that is the fact that we are protecting our independence. We are protecting and will continue to protect the legitimate independence demand of the Azerbaijani people, their desire to be independent. Both you and the people who will run Azerbaijan in the future should go down this path.

It is no secret to anyone that practical steps are taken through various funds to create mass unrest and conflict in different countries. Whereas 10 years ago it was done secretly, at the present time all the masks have been dropped and nothing is concealed any more. The aim is to establish control over countries rich in natural resources, possessing huge potential and a favorable geographical location, and to put them at the beck and call of others. And this leads these countries to demise.

We know this from recent history. The events that occurred in our neighborhood are right before our eyes. Be aware that similar scenarios were also written for Azerbaijan. But do know as well that the iron will of our government stopped these scenarios being implemented, and we will never allow this to happen. Therefore you, young people, should be well aware of this, our youth should not fall under the influence of foreign circles. Are foreign forces interested in the development of Azerbaijan more than we are? Of course not! They have different interests, and we know the reason. They also know that it will not work with us, and you it should not work with you either. Therefore, you should always keep these issues in the spotlight.

We do not need any help from abroad. When it was necessary, no-one helped us. Who helped us when Azerbaijan was in a dire situation? No-one did! I remember a time when we could not get loans from international institutions. They wouldn’t give us loans. And now we are giving loans to other countries ourselves. So our economic development has been achieved only by the Azerbaijani state and the government. It is the result of our policy. This is why we did not apply to anyone for help, and there was no need for that. But millions of dollars are transferred to Azerbaijan annually under the guise of assistance. This money goes into the pockets of opposition organizations. But our opposition is so fond of money that 70-80 per cent of the grants are simply pocketed. Therefore, the money is not spent by the will of those sending it. This is a fact. We know about that and there is nothing to hide here. How much money enters the bank accounts? Who gets it and what is this money spent on? Be aware that these funds work against the interests of our country. But even if they increase this amount tenfold, it will still be useless because the guarantor of stability and development in Azerbaijan are the Azerbaijani people, the ongoing work, the improving infrastructure of our cities and our developing country. Therefore, I believe that attempts to undermine stability in Azerbaijan are totally irrelevant. This is already known to those who are making such attempts.

But we need to know it, and you also need to know it. Therefore, we will rely on our own resources in the future too. The will of the Azerbaijani people for me, as President, is fundamental. You, young people, must be professional, competent and fit both physically and mentally. You should make sure that Azerbaijan always develops and speaks its word as an independent country, not formally but in reality. There are more than 200 independent countries in the world. But not all of these countries are independent. Take Armenia. This country can’t be considered independent. It is a colony, and the government of Armenia lives with a slave mentality and has already plunged its country into complete dependence. I do not believe that this is the independence the Armenian people dreamed of. Like every nation and every person, countries also want to be independent, to speak their word and not to depend on anyone. For human beings freedom is one of the biggest assets. Everyone is born free and wants to be free – of course, within the law. Therefore, a lot depends on you, so that real independence is eternal and irreversible.

I can say that the Azerbaijani youth is attached to the motherland and contributes greatly to the development of our country. I simply want to express my views on this issue and give you my advice, so that in the future you can use it to successfully continue your activities. I welcome you again and congratulate you on the opening of this beautiful center.