Ilham Aliyev attended the opening of a Youth Center in Tartar

07 october 2012, 11:35

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

The head of state cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the center and reviewed the building. It was noted that special attention is being paid in our country to raising competent, educated, intelligent and patriotic young people. Inspired by all this, our youth worthily represents Azerbaijan in the fields of politics, economy, culture, arts, sports and other areas.

It was indicated that the construction of the center covering an area of one hectare began in May this year. The two-storey building of the center has been built with high quality and in a short time. In the lobby there is a bust of nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev, photo stands describing the visits of great leader Heydar Aliyev and President Ilham Aliyev to Tartar, their meetings with local workers and the attention and care about young people.

It was noted that the center has a fully equipped youth café. The 112-seat conference hall of the center also meets modern standards and can host various events of regional scale. In addition, there is a modern karaoke bar and a virtual ring on the first floor of the center. The virtual ring is properly equipped for conducting various intellectual games. The center’s five-lane shooting gallery is also on the level of modern standards. Of great interest is the virtual shooting gallery. Young people can also enjoy a special shooting range with laser effects produced by leading companies of the world. The center has a fully equipped 30-seat 3D cinema, a foreign languages club, a language lab and a photo studio. In addition, there is a conference room for various activities.

A mini-stadium has been built outside the center, the adjacent area landscaped, a fountain built, a modern lighting system installed and trees planted.

After reviewing the center, the President met with young people of Tartar District. President Ilham Aliyev addressed the meeting.

Speech by President Ilham Aliyev

- My sincere greetings to you all. First of all, let me congratulate you on the opening of the new Youth Centre in Tartar. The people of Tartar, the Tartar youth should effectively use the Centre.

As you know, the construction of youth centers has become widespread in Azerbaijan. Youth houses and centers meeting the latest standards should be built in every district. This process has already begun and is well under way. I am sure that such beautiful centers will be available in every district in the coming years. These buildings impart special beauty to our districts. These are beautiful buildings constructed in a modern architectural style. At the same time, they have all the opportunities for young people to spend their leisure time effectively.

In general, the youth policy in Azerbaijan is carried out very successfully. This policy has laid by the great leader. The basic contours of the youth policy were outlined on the initiative of Heydar Aliyev. This policy has been successfully carried out very in Azerbaijan for the past 20 years. It is in this period, in the years of independence, that our youth has matured. It plays an important part in the life of our country.

Youth is a temporary period. The policy of our state is to ensure that Azerbaijani youth is literate, educated and attached to the country, that it contributes to a further development of our country. It is also very important for young people to grow in the spirit of patriotism.

Azerbaijan has been an independent state for 21 years. The foundations of our independence are very strong. And young people should grow in this spirit – in the national spirit. There is a great need for that, especially in a globalizing world. Our advantage is that our people are very attached to their national and spiritual values. Although we were part of other empires and countries for many years and centuries, we have preserved our national identity, primarily thanks to our national values.

Therefore, at the current stage we are an independent state and the future of Azerbaijan is in the hands of its people. The developments unfolding in the world suggest that negative trends sometimes appear under the guise of globalization. To confront and prevent these negative trends, national and spiritual values must come to the fore. I am pleased that, in general, the Azerbaijani youth is attached to its country, loves Azerbaijan, and these trends must be passed down from one generation to another.

During a recent opening of new institutions of higher education in Baku, I broadly expressed my thoughts about education and, in general, about humanitarian issues. So I don’t want to repeat that. But I want to reiterate that, above all, knowledge should play a role in the comprehensive training of young people. Every young man should know that his fate is in his own hands, depends on the level of his knowledge.

Azerbaijan is a free country, a free society. Our economy is based on the principles of a market economy. Every citizen has all the opportunities. The fate of every citizen is in his own hands. It is difficult to find oneself a good place, secure a worthy place without knowledge. So in my meetings with young people I always pay attention to this issue. This is not just a slogan.

Knowledge is highly important for the work, for the future of every young individual.

If we consider that Azerbaijan is carrying out reforms and applying new technologies in this area, our young people must also be prepared for the latest technology. The world is developing in this direction. The future of the world is only associated with education. Today this manifests itself quite clearly. I am sure that in 10 and 20 years from now the level of knowledge and technological progress will determine the development of any country.

There is competition in the world, countries compete with each other. In some cases this competition is civilized, in others it leads to conflict and war. Therefore, the development of any society is primarily associated with its intellectual level. I have mentioned this before and I want to repeat that, in general, the intellectual level in Azerbaijan is good. But this is a continuous process. We should not be content with the successes achieved.

It is also very important to develop science. Of course, Azerbaijan can’t yet initiate scientific and technological progress. But we in Azerbaijan should apply the latest available technologies, the best innovations. There should be people capable of applying these innovations. If the general intellectual level of society is low, then no initiative can succeed. The overall intellectual potential of society should be high. New technologies must be introduced. Young people should be professionals, managers. In previous years, in Soviet times, specialization was manifested very clearly. Today, too, specialization is very important. But the quality of management, especially in administration, enables everyone to work in the desired area. Just as we see it in the leading countries of the world. Today, one person may work in a managerial position at a certain industrial plant and then move to another sphere. So the training of modern managers is very important and our country is working in this direction.

I have great expectations for the public activity of young people. Young people are always the most active members of society. And this activity should be continued. Of course, public processes in our country are going in a positive direction. Of course, young people should and do play a role in enhancing these processes. Young people should be active in all matters. And we are seeing that.

Young people are making various initiatives, promoting our country in the world.

Young people also play a part in informing the world about our most painful problem – the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The process of recognition of the Khojaly genocide has already begun. Three countries have already recognized the Khojaly genocide and the role of young people in this is very positive.

Our young people living and studying abroad are actively involved in various activities and events. Our Diaspora organizations have become stronger and can carry out actions anywhere in the world. Watching these actions on television, we see that young people are in the foreground. So young people are always active and this activity should have a positive direction.

I am very pleased that young people play a role in the comprehensive development of our country, strengthen the foundations of our independence. Our youth is patriotic, attached to the motherland, is raised in the national spirit. It must prepare itself for successfully running our country in the future. Everyone should do that in his place, as this is an ongoing process.

Azerbaijan has secured a worthy place in the world. We are reckoned with. Our initiatives play a crucial role in the region. But to make this process sustainable, there should be continuity. Generations change and each new generation should be more professionally prepared than the previous one. In this case, the long-term development of our country can be successful. But if this continuity is interrupted or at some point the people playing a critical role in governing the country are not properly prepared, then our country will face problems. Because the strength of any country is not determined by its natural resources, although it is also important at some point. People’s professionalism, especially the intellectual potential and patriotism, are the main preconditions for a country’s success. Therefore, along with professionalism, of course, young people should contribute to the strengthening of the ideological foundations of our state. I see and welcome that, try to promote young people, appoint them to various important positions. This process is powering ahead and will go even faster in the future.

Youth is very active in business. Unlike our generation, it is better trained and prepared, which is natural. Because Azerbaijan is going through a strong and efficient economic development. Of course, our business opportunities are also enhancing.

Currently, Azerbaijan is one of the leading economies in the world. In terms of competitiveness, we are in 46th place in the world and first in the CIS. Competitiveness is not determined by the production of oil and gas at all. It demonstrates the essence of reform. So our economy is showing the possibilities of broad business activity. I see that most businesses in Azerbaijan are led by young people. I approve and welcome that.

I believe that this process should go even faster in the future.

At the same time, young people play an important part in promoting our national traditions and perpetuating our culture. Seeing the activity of youth in the promotion of our national music and other activities, I feel very happy. For example, the Mugham competition is a great initiative, a great event. Seeing great performing skills not only of young people, but also of small children, one can’t help rejoicing that the Azerbaijani people are demonstrating their talent to the world. Someone attached to his culture, music and literature will certainly be a patriot.

My meetings with young people are regular – both in Baku and in the regions. Today we are conducting a regional youth meeting at this beautiful Center. I am sure that each of you will be contributing to the overall development of our country in your respective districts.

This region is growing fast. Over the past 10 years this region has seen unprecedented development. I often visit the districts you represent. The program on the development of our districts is well under way. You see how much prettier the cities are becoming, roads and social infrastructure are created. This is overall development of our country. In subsequent years too, our overall development will be very rapid and efficient, our country will further strengthen its positions in the world.

I sincerely salute you again and congratulate you on the opening of this beautiful building.

The chairman of the youth association of the Agdam district branch of the “Yeni Azerbaijan Party”, Amil Javadov, said: 

- Mr. President, I salute you on behalf of the young people of Agdam. We express our gratitude to you for conducting such meetings with young people on a regular basis.

Mr. President, as a representative of the Azerbaijani youth and a representative of the Karabakh youth whose land is under occupation, I would like to inform you that we, young people, always support all your steps towards freeing our Karabakh. We wait for the order of our Commander-in-Chief to go forward.

Mr. President, the aggressive Armenian state has been trying to impede the peace process and maintain the status quo for about 20 years of negotiations on the return of our lands. Even the latest event, the extradition of Azerbaijani army officer Ramil Safarov to our country and his pardon on your part, has been described by them as having a negative impact on the peace talks. We ask you to express your attitude to that.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, have a seat. I have repeatedly expressed my opinion on this matter and want to reiterate that Armenia’s main goal lies in the fact that this conflict should remain unresolved. Several years ago I expressed my opinion to the Minsk Group co-chairs, I said that this is the opinion I have. Because if the Armenian government wanted to resolve the conflict, it would be very easy to do. Various options were suggested and in late 2009, at a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers, the Azerbaijani side generally accepted a new option and Azerbaijan officially expressed its position on it.

What was that option? I have repeatedly expressed my opinion about it. It envisaged a withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from all occupied districts, the return of Azerbaijani IDPs to those lands, the operation of a corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, the presence of peacekeeping forces in the region, while the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh was to be postponed indefinitely. What would this status be? This was not mentioned in the proposal. I think it was the right approach. Because it is a matter of the future. Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan, our historic and native land, and the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh now will live in a single state of Azerbaijan in the future. I have no doubt about that.

The Armenian side believes that Nagorno-Karabakh would once becomes an independent state. This is a fiction, a fantasy, it will never happen. The international community recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijani land, which is reflected in all the documents of relevant international organizations. A recent resolution of the Non-Aligned Movement, which includes 120 countries, i.e. most of the world community, envisages a settlement within the framework of territorial integrity. In May this year, the latest declaration of the NATO summit in Chicago also provided for a resolution only and only within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Of course, you know that there are also UN Security Council resolutions, etc.

That is an unequivocal approach and I have no doubt that there will come a time when Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity. In principle, we viewed that proposal positively because we believed that it was fair. But Armenia rejected it, did not accept it and then made various attempts to change it.

As to the settlement of the conflict, a few months ago we heard a statement by the presidents of co-chair countries that the status quo is unacceptable and must be changed. It is a very positive statement. Unfortunately, no such statements were made in the early stages of the conflict. But this statement should be followed by tangible steps. Otherwise, it will remain just a statement. Changing the status quo means the withdrawal of Armenian troops from our occupied lands. How else can the status quo be changed? We didn’t seize Armenia’s land to change something or make concessions. Unfortunately, this statement has not been followed by concrete steps.

As you noted, the issue of Ramil Safarov has been used both by the Armenians and, regrettably, by some foreign circles as an excuse. The talks are stalled because of that now. The talks are stalled because Armenia doesn’t want to change the status quo. Armenia is confident of the power of its Diaspora and believes that it can maintain the status quo forever. The issue of Ramil Safarov seems to have provided them and some foreign countries dealing with this problem with ammunition to condemn Azerbaijan, as if it is Azerbaijan that is disrupting the negotiating process. I repeat, we have accepted the basic parameters of the updated Madrid principles proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group in late 2009, while Armenia rejected them. It is unfair and we can’t accept this situation. We can never allow an opinion to form that it is Azerbaijan’s steps that have lead to failures in the talks. It is not the case and this unfair position cannot prevail.

As to the issue of Ramil Safarov, I want to repeat that everything was done within the law. The extradition was settled on the basis of European conventions and I pardoned Ramil Safarov in accordance with the Constitution of Azerbaijan. It was a correct decision and I want to say again that even if I had known at that time that the Armenians and their supporters would raise such a hue and cry about it, I would still have pardoned Ramil Safarov on arrival in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan has returned its officer to his homeland. This is the most important task. No matter what the Armenians say, I am not interested. No matter what their patrons say, I am not interested. I don’t attach any importance to these statements and not a single unfounded attack on Azerbaijan has gone unanswered.

The European Parliament, unfortunately, has passed an anti-Azerbaijani resolution for the second time. The Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan has given them an adequate response, the Administration of the President also gave a decent answer. Other international organizations, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, someone who should actually protect humanism, must guard human rights. In previous years sometimes, the Council of Europe, under the pretext of humanitarian principles, urged the Azerbaijani state to pardon offenders, i.e. criminals. Well, Ramil Safarov spent about nine years in detention, so his pardon is fully justified from all moral, political and legal standpoints. But what do we see? We see a policy of double standards again. I can say with full confidence that if an Armenian officer had killed an Azerbaijani officer, there would be a completely opposite situation, there wouldn’t have been such a fuss. We are subjected to a policy of double standards. This is a reality. There are reasons for such a policy and we all know them.

But let me repeat that no-one can make us deviate from our path. Azerbaijan is an independent state, it operates in international organizations and leading international organizations defend the position of Azerbaijan. The United Nations and its General Assembly have adopted a resolution meeting our interests in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions. The Non-Aligned Movement, which includes 120 countries, has supported our position.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has supported our position.

Therefore, I repeat, we will not deviate from the chosen path, the hue and cry raised by the Armenians is in vain. We, in general, do not pay any attention to it. Baseless attacks from some European politicians will not and do not go without a response.

The 11th grade pupil of secondary school No 2 in Goranboy, Khadija Mammadli, said:

- Dear Mr. President! First of all, I salute you on behalf of the Goranboy youth! I express my gratitude to you for the attention and care about young people. Mr. President, in recent years we have observed the creation, on your instructions, of the most sophisticated educational infrastructure in Azerbaijan. The increase in the construction of educational institutions, especially in the regions, is the result of state attention and care. This increases our opportunities to obtain knowledge. Despite this, however, there are a number of problems in the field of education. We can cite as an example a small number of digital libraries in district schools and a low speed of the Internet. Mr. President, we are wondering whether the reforms in education will be continued?

President Ilham Aliyev: Of course, they will be. Reforms should be continued in all areas as a whole. Reform is a concept that has no end. There must be political reform, economic reform and, of course, reform in the sphere of education. Reform means innovation. Life goes on, the world develops. Reform is a step taken at the right time. Reforms have recently been carried out in the field of education.

As you have said, the material and technical infrastructure of education has dramatically improved. More than 2,200 schools have been built in the regions. By the end of next year, there will be no school in Baku without renovation. As for the regions, unfortunately there are still schools in poor condition. I insist that the information I receive before visiting every district should specifically indicate how many schools are in disrepair! We know that. Such a problem does exist. It did not appear today and I want to say that the 2,200 schools built in the last eight to nine years have helped us to partially resolve it.

The provision of schools with modern equipment is, of course, a very important issue. The process of computerization is now under way. Whereas 10 years ago there was one computer per 1,000 pupils, now the ratio is about one to 30, perhaps even fewer pupils. So computerization is ongoing, Internet is extended to villages. Broadband Internet is introduced. Azerbaijan is the most dynamic country of the region in terms of the Internet. According to statistics, 65 per cent of our population are Internet users. Of course, this work should be continued. However, this is a technical and financial side of the issue.

We are investing a lot in education. We will invest in the future too, we invest in the development of information and communication technologies. The state, for its part, enhances the material and technical infrastructure. As for the quality of education, of course, there must be more thorough reforms here. In general, the intellectual level of our society is high, but we can’t be complacent in this area. Of course, it is necessary to revise the educational process, the level of education. We must make sure that everyone leaving a secondary school is truly qualified and knowledgeable. The initial knowledge is formed in secondary schools. Of course, a role is played by comprehensive measures.

I am sure that the training of teachers in higher education institutions, their responsibility, the attention paid to this matter in the families, the state investment and targeted reforms can lead to a more serious progress in education in the coming years.

The fourth year student of the law faculty of Baku State University, Kamal Mammadzadeh, said:

- Dear Mr. President! On behalf of the young people of Tartar we welcome you to our district. Mr. President, we know that you always pay special attention to young people. A good example of that is the construction of a modern youth center in our district. Mr. President, we express our appreciation and gratitude to you for finding the time in your busy schedule to meet with us.

As you know, our country is waging a serious fight against corruption. Serious measures are taken to eliminate corruption which damages the creative work, the ongoing social and economic reforms and the business reputation of Azerbaijan. But certain recent developments necessitate a further strengthening of the fight against corruption. We would like to hear your opinion about it.

There are factors contributing to corruption. It is difficult to fight this scourge only through administrative methods. Because administrative steps are taken, punishments are applied, those guilty are arrested and punished. But after a certain period of time the people appointing to these places do the same. Therefore, administrative measures will be continued, of course.

Punishment will be made even more severe. At the same time, new methods are being put in place to make corruption impossible. The “e-government”, the new systems introduced by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, registration, the newly-created “ASAN” service will significantly prevent corruption. We strive to make the best use of transparency in Azerbaijan. We have already achieved success in this area. Our State Oil Fund is the most transparent oil fund in the world.

We are world leaders in reforming this area. Azerbaijan is the first fully-fledged member of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative. So this is possible, we did it. The transparency of public agencies is important, where there is transparency, the scope for corruption reduces. So the penalties, administrative measures must be continued, it is a reality, it is impossible to do without them.

There is a public policy, all the necessary measures are taken, all the instructions have been given, and I believe that we are getting the upper hand in this fight. There is probably no such development as in Azerbaijan anywhere else in the world.

Everyone visiting Azerbaijan for the first time, both our regions and Baku, can’t help being surprised, saying that they had no idea that we have such a developed country, that so much creative, construction and landscaping work is done. At the same time, we can say that all foreign visitors coming to Azerbaijan for the first time stress that we have great people and a lovely atmosphere. So all this is our advantage, and against this background corruption is totally unacceptable. I am sure that, as in other areas, we will achieve what we want in this area too.

Aygun Mammadli from Tartar District, who has entered the Azerbaijan Medical University with 646 points, said:

- Mr. President, first of all I salute you on behalf of the Tartar youth and express my gratitude for your attention. It has always been the dream of the Azerbaijani youth to receive higher education and, after graduation, to serve our country and people as knowledgeable specialists. Government agencies are going through a process of rejuvenation. This is a logical result of your successful policies. Along with this, the State Program “The Azerbaijani youth”, which has been approved by your Order, contains provisions on young specialists. Our regions are undergoing a process of dynamic socioeconomic development. And rapid development, as we know, is directly related to human resources. We would like the potential of our young specialists to be effectively utilized in this process. We would like you to express your opinion about this.
President Ilham Aliyev: Our position on this is quite clear. I have repeatedly expressed my views about that.

The rejuvenation process has to go on and it does. This should happen in every society. What will happen if it doesn’t? There will be stagnation. We can’t let that happen. This necessitated the realization of the State Program “The Azerbaijani youth” covering the period 2011-2015. The program is very broad and young people were actively involved in its preparation. Prior to its adoption extensive discussions were held and suggestions made. After that I was updated again and said that proposals coming from the ground should be considered. Thus, the program was finalized and is being realized. A Youth Fund was established. It is also very important. Five million manats were initially allocated to the Youth Fund from the Contingency Fund of the President. More funds may be allocated next year. This fund will implement various projects.

We have to promote professionally trained, competent, educated youth who is attached to the homeland. But again, the most important role should be played by the qualification of young people. Also, you will probably know that some time ago we established the retirement age. It is also very important. When reaching a certain age, those working in public bodies should retire. As an exception, their work can be extended for several years.

I often attend the opening ceremonies of new enterprises. Specific instructions are given to create new business areas, and I am very pleased that most activities in this area are carried out by young people, literate and educated young people. Of course, it is important to speak foreign languages. It is impossible to do without it especially in the Internet age. Our young people should speak both English and Russian, at least two languages. The level of their training and professionalism should enable them to confidently demonstrate their skills in all important jobs.

History teacher of Barda secondary school No. 3 Gulshan Orujova said:

- Mr. President, first of all I salute you on my own behalf and on behalf of the young people of Barda and express our gratitude for your care about young people.

Mr. President, as you know, the use of social networking is widely spread in Azerbaijan today. At a time when the Internet is commonplace, social networks have become a new medium. People use social networks mainly to obtain and disseminate information. And this is wonderful, it is the best demonstration of freedom of thought in all spheres of life in Azerbaijan, including social networks. If we look at young people of today, some of them use social networks mainly as a means of entertainment. But it is more important to use social networks to obtain and disseminate information and monitor the developments unfolding in Azerbaijan and the world.

Mr. President, it would be interesting to hear your opinions and recommendations about it.

President Ilham Aliyev: 

Social networks are a relatively new concept, they are widespread in the world.

Azerbaijan is an open state, our society is open, it has all the freedoms, there are no restrictions. Everything must be within the law. If everything is within the law, there can be no restrictions. We have freedom of the press, freedom of conscience, all political freedoms. The Internet is free in Azerbaijan. If we pay attention to the statistics of countries, i.e. those where the Internet is free and where it is not, we will see that not every country has free Internet. There are restrictions and bans. But the activity of our state, our public policy in this area is completely transparent and open.

I would very much like these networks to be used first to obtain information and knowledge.

At the same time, I would very much like and urge young people to disseminate complete information about our country through social networks. Because in some cases the opinion formed about Azerbaijan completely contradicts reality.

We know why such opinions are formed, we also know who is doing this. On the one hand, it is done by world Armenians, the Armenian lobby in order to tarnish Azerbaijan. On the other it is done by certain political and social organizations who can’t come to terms with Azerbaijan’s realities. Thirdly, which we must say openly, this is done by certain circles and nongovernmental organizations who have contracted Islamophobia and whose daily activities are to blacken Azerbaijan. I don’t even want to name them. But I can say that their attempts of blackmail will not bring any results, all their efforts are futile. But this is the case, and we have to extensively use social media to promote our country and culture. The state acts in this direction, a variety of activities are carried out abroad, Diaspora organizations are stepped up, embassies work hard. I know that our youth studying abroad is also very active, it conducts exhibitions, events, concerts, invites foreign guests. These days the Second International Humanitarian Forum was held. In just two years we have been able to transform our initiative into a real and tangible format. The forum was attended by 10 former presidents, 11 Nobel Prize winners, hundreds of politicians and public figures. Yesterday and today they traveled to our regions to become familiar with them. So we have a very good possibility to promote Azerbaijan. For example, the forum was attended by 600 people, another event may bring together 200.

But through social networks thousands, millions of people can become familiar with Azerbaijan. So my request to young people is to use social networks for this purpose, to be proud of their country, to provide complete, accurate and unbiased information about our country. Let the world know that there is a country called Azerbaijan, where people and nations live freely like one family. This, unfortunately, is not typical of all the countries. There is development and progress in Azerbaijan, and the outlook for the future is very positive.

I sincerely salute you all and wish you every success. Thank you.

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Then a picture was taken.