Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the parade dedicated to 100th anniversary of liberation of Baku15 september 2018, 15:30
Distinguished President of the Republic of Turkey, my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, I want to express my deep gratitude to my dear brother, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for accepting my invitation to come to Azerbaijan. We are next to each other on this holiday. We were next to each other a hundred years ago too, and we are together today. A hundred years ago, the newly-established Azerbaijani National Army under the command of Nuru Pasha, together with volunteers, liberated Baku from the invaders. I want to sincerely congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan and Turkey on this historic event. Let me take this opportunity to send my deep respect and reverence to all our Turkish brothers and sisters from Azadlig Square, one of the symbols of Azerbaijan.
In May of this year, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic. Its establishment was a historic event. A democratic republic was created for the first time in the Muslim world. We are proud of the fact that the Azerbaijani people created this republic. However, the newly-independent Azerbaijan was faced great difficulties. The government of Azerbaijan could not fully control its territory. Baku and a number of other cities were under occupation. The government of Azerbaijan was based and operated from Ganja. The arrival of the Caucasian Islamic Army under the command of Nuru Pasha in Azerbaijan, its coming from Ganja to Baku, the liberation of several cities and of the city of Baku following fierce battles on 15 September were indeed historic events. The grateful Azerbaijani people will never forget this. The bright memory of martyrs will always live in our hearts.
Today, together with my dear brother, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, we visited the graves of our martyrs. They are next to each other. May Allah rest their souls. Their memories always live in our hearts and the heroism they displayed further strengthens the unity between Turkey and Azerbaijan today.
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic did not last long. Unfortunately, the Republic fell two years later and Azerbaijan lost its state independence. In 1991, Azerbaijan restored its state independence and Turkey became the first country to recognize us. This was also evidence of brotherhood.
Today, Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are at the highest level. I think there is no other example in the world today for two countries to be so close to each other and support each other. Our unity is manifested in all spheres. This year alone, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and I we have met six times – twice in Azerbaijan, twice in Turkey and twice in international events. Our meetings are of regular nature, and each of them is of great importance. Our political ties are at the highest level. We carry out successful economic cooperation. Tour trade turnover is increasing. Investments amounting to billions of dollars are placed from Azerbaijan into Turkey and from Turkey into Azerbaijan. We are successfully implementing joint transport and energy projects that are redrawing the energy and transport map of Eurasia. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum oil and gas pipelines, the commissioning of the TANAP project this year are historic projects. A joint political will has been demonstrated. Joint financial resources have been mobilized, and these giant transnational projects have been successfully implemented. We are re-drawing the transport map of Eurasia. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by my dear brother in Baku in October last year. This railway is a new transport artery. The volume of goods it carries is gradually increasing and will continue to increase. The importance of our countries is growing. We could realize and have realized all these projects only together. If we consider that these projects require major financial resources and a great political will, we have achieved that only by joint effort. Turkey and Azerbaijan today, as two fraternal countries, are seeing the results of these projects. Our unity manifests itself in all spheres. This includes the deepening of cooperation and interaction in the military sphere. Joint military exercises are held several times a year. Soldiers of the Turkish and Azerbaijani armies today stand side by side, and they will march in front of us in Azadlig Square as brothers.
Turkey has covered a long and glorious road in recent years. Under the leadership of my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has turned into a great force on a world scale. No issue can be resolved in the world without the participation of Turkey. History and the present day of our region vividly confirm this. The political opportunities of Turkey are expanding. Its role in the world is expanding, which is very encouraging for us. The more powerful Turkey, the stronger Azerbaijan. Turkey is a country of great economic power. It is no coincidence that foreign investments amounting to billions of dollars are being made in the Turkish economy. Azerbaijan alone has invested and will invest around $20 billion in Turkey. Turkey has a powerful army on a global scale. It is one of the strongest armies in the world, which is a source of pride both for Turkey and for us. All these successes have been possible only thanks to the tireless activity of the strong leader and popular support for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. I would like to sincerely congratulate the President of the Republic of Turkey and the entire Turkish people on these successes from Azadlig Square today.
Next month, Azerbaijan will celebrate the 27th anniversary of the restoration of state independence. This is a very short period for history. The first two years of our independence were extremely difficult and tragic, as our lands fell under occupation, Azerbaijan was faced with great economic difficulties, political and economic crisis. There was civil war in Azerbaijan. Although the first two years were extremely difficult, Azerbaijan achieved great successes in the subsequent period. Azerbaijan has become an important country in the region, our role in the world is growing, our international positions are strengthening and the world community supports our policy. A good example of this is the fact that 155 countries of the world elected Azerbaijan a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council a few years ago. This is a manifestation of the world’s support for Azerbaijan. The reforms carried out in the economic sphere ushered great opportunities for Azerbaijan. We managed to achieve impressive results. Suffice it to say that the economy of Azerbaijan has increased 3.2 times in the past 15 years. The country's economy has received investments in the amount of $250 billion. Great progress has been made in addressing social problems. Unemployment in Azerbaijan is at the level of 5 per cent today. Azerbaijan has implemented major projects jointly with friendly countries, primarily with Turkey. So all this allows us the opportunity to say with full confidence that there is a bright future in store for Azerbaijan.
Our country has achieved tremendous success in the field of army building as well. According to international ratings, the Azerbaijani army today is among 50 strongest armies on a global scale. Our military potential is growing. We need a strong army because our lands are under occupation.
Nagorno-Karabakh is ancestral Azerbaijani land. The Azerbaijani people have lived and worked on this land for centuries. Our contemptible neighbors took advantage of the unstable situation in Azerbaijan in the early 1990s and occupied part of our lands. All our historical and religious monuments on the occupied territories have been mercilessly destroyed. Genocide has been committed against our people and this occupation still continues. Therefore, a strong army is the main prerequisite for the existence of Azerbaijan in the future as an independent country and for the restoration of its territorial integrity. The Azerbaijani army showed its strength and ability on the battlefield. The Azerbaijani flags that have been in combat will be brought to Azadlig Square today. These flags were raised by Azerbaijani fighters in Agdara, Fizuli and Jabrayil Districts liberated from occupation in 2016. These flags were raised on the lands liberated from occupation as a result of a successful operation on the Nakhchivan section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in May this year. The day will come when the national flag of Azerbaijan will be raised on all the lands that are currently under occupation.
Dear friends, it is a historic day in the full sense of the word today. It is a day of Turkish-Azerbaijani unity and Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherhood. We, representatives of this generation, are perpetuating and will perpetuate this day. The whole world sees today that Turkey and Azerbaijan are together. The whole world sees that our indestructible friendship and brotherhood are eternal.
A hundred years ago, as a result of a joint operation of the Caucasian Islamic Army of Nuru Pasha and the Azerbaijani National Army, Baku was liberated from occupation. Our ancestors showed true heroism and selflessness in the fierce fight that lasted more than a day. I must also note that two days after this historic victory, the Azerbaijani government moved from Ganja to Baku, and Baku was declared the capital of the Azerbaijani state. Our ancient city, the ancient city of the Azerbaijani people Baku was returned to its true owners. The heroism, friendship and brotherhood of Nuru Pasha, of the Caucasian Islamic army and of all our brothers are unforgettable and will always live in our hearts.
After the historic victory, our heroic fighters took to the streets of Baku in a victorious procession. Thousands of Baku residents applauded, kissed and hugged them. It was a celebration of unity.
Today, thousands of Baku residents look forward to this parade in the streets of the capital, a grandiose march of Turkish and Azerbaijani soldiers. Baku today is decorated with Turkish and Azerbaijani flags. There are Turkish and Azerbaijani flags in the streets, on buildings, on warships and in the sky. This magnificent ceremony is being seen not only by the residents of Baku, but also by the whole world today. Millions of people in Turkey and Azerbaijan, millions of our compatriots abroad are seeing it and feel legitimately proud.
Dear friends, brothers and sisters, I want to once again congratulate you all on the historic day – the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Baku from occupation. I would like to wish the people of Turkey and Azerbaijan continuous development and progress. I want to say that the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship is indestructible and eternal.