President Ilham Aliyev: Today's independent Azerbaijan is Heydar Aliyev's creation (UPDATE) (PHOTO)

Politics Materials 12 May 2011 18:07 (UTC +04:00)
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva Tuesday attended a solemn ceremony at the Buta Palace to mark the 88th birthday anniversary of national leader Heydar Aliyev and 7th anniversary of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Azerbaijani President's official website reported
President Ilham Aliyev: Today's independent Azerbaijan is Heydar Aliyev's creation (UPDATE) (PHOTO)

Details added (the first version was posted at 10:06 on May 11)

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva Tuesday attended a solemn ceremony at the Buta Palace to mark the 88th birthday anniversary of national leader Heydar Aliyev and 7th anniversary of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Azerbaijani President's official website reported.

President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, the family members and First Lady of Latvia Lilita Zatlere posed for photographs.

The event, with attendance of state and government representatives and reputable guests, invited from abroad, started off with a video, featuring different periods of Heydar Aliyev`s glorious life path.

Azerbaijan's First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, UNESCO and ISESCO goodwill ambassador, MP Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the ceremony.

"This year, as every year on May 10, I sincerely welcome you at the traditional ceremony organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. I say "Welcome to Azerbaijan!" to all guests, who arrived in our country to participate in the ceremony. I would like to voice deep appreciation for being with us in this evening," Mrs. Aliyeva said.

Mrs. Aliyeva said Azerbaijan is celebrating in 2011 the 20th anniversary of the restoration of state independence. "Azerbaijan, possessing an ancient history and rich culture, exists in the world map as an independent country only for 20 years. Twenty years is a short period from the standpoint of the history. But, Azerbaijan has made great achievements during the 20 years. Today, Azerbaijan is a country demonstrating a record pace of development in various fields. Azerbaijan is a leader in the region, it established partnerships with the leading states and enjoys the reputation in the international arena. Today, Azerbaijan is a powerful state, which is able to set and achieve any goal, and looks forward to the future with hope," she said.

"If we turn to our recent past, then it should be noted that the way that brought us to present was not easy and smooth at all. We have faced enough problems, difficulties and sufferings on this way. Looking at every year left behind, we see indelible traces of genius, great man Heydar Aliyev on every page of our modern history. Regardless of whether he is with us or not, Heydar Aliyev has great merits in each project implemented during these 20 years and each of our achievements. Let's recall the first years of our independence, when a tough crisis prevailed in our country due to various reasons. But, I do not want to list them this evening. In brief, we seemed to have been deprived of light. A ray of hope was extinguished in our hearts, as the lights went out in our cities. Heydar Aliyev returned us a hope and light. He saved the country from major disasters and began to write the first pages of our new, modern history relying on the Azerbaijani people. In 1993, not all believed that one day Heydar Aliyev's all dreams, plans and ideas will come true. Despite all the difficulties, Aliyev successfully implemented Azerbaijan's oil strategy and thereby laid the foundation for our future victories and achievements," Mehriban Aliyeva said.

She said today the way of great man Heydar Aliyev has become a symbol of service to the people and Motherland for each of us. "Repeating one of his favorite sayings "I am proud of that I am Azerbaijani" we bow our heads before his unforgettable memory," Mrs.Aliyeva stressed.

"Dear friends, the Foundation named after Heydar Aliyev has been functioning for 7 years. The Foundation implemented a number of large-scale projects over the last year . As always, we sought to cover different areas - science, education, health, culture and social issues. This evening we will hear the detailed information and a film about the activities of the Foundation will be shown. I just want to say that our greatest achievement, the biggest success over these 7 years was winning of the confidence and respect of the Azerbaijani people. Taking the advantage of this tribune, I would like again to assure everyone that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation will further be ready to continue to work for the present and the future of Azerbaijan. I am deeply grateful to everyone, every organization - both public and non-governmental agencies supporting and assisting us along the way, and international organizations that established relations and cooperation with us," Mrs. Aliyeva said.

"Dear friends, I hope that this fine evening organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation will leave none of you indifferent. I express my deep appreciation to all who made efforts in organizing this evening, especially a team of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. I wish you success, happiness and love. God bless Azerbaijan! Thank you very much!" she said.

Then, participants of the event saw a film on the national leader`s activity.

President Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the ceremony.

"Celebrating the birthday of Great Leader Heydar Aliyev today, remembering his blessed memory, I would like again to voice deep respect and reverence of the Azerbaijani people for his immortal memory. Heydar Aliyev always faithfully served to his own people. Regardless of the socio-political system, the national leader made enormous contribution to Azerbaijan's development in all times," President Aliyev said.

He said when Heydar Aliyev began to lead Azerbaijan first time in 1969 the country was among the most backward republics of the USSR. "The economy, one might say, was not developing, no necessary steps were taken for the development of agriculture and the industrial production was at a very low level. Thanks to his efforts, Azerbaijan had managed to reach the most advanced places in the scale of the Soviet Union for 13 years. At that time only two republics could provide themselves and Azerbaijan was one of them. A powerful impetus was given to socio-economic development in those years. A strong and solid foundation of the industry was laid then and today this is a great help for the industrial capacity of independent Azerbaijan. A considerable progress has been achieved in the development of all areas of life in the Azerbaijan Republic in those years. In brief, 1970s went down in the Azerbaijani history as the years of development and progress. Of course, Azerbaijan was not independent, and these successes were achieved within the Soviet ideology existing at that time. The potential gained in those years, of course, helped us after regaining the independence," Aliyev said.

Aliyev stressed that Heydar Aliyev was at the top leadership of the Soviet Union in 1982-1987. "It was first time when an Azerbaijani was awarded a high position in the superpower. Serving as the first deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, he also paid a great attention to Azerbaijan's development, his heart remained in Azerbaijan. The processes were running on as usual in Azerbaijan in those years. That is force of inertia was so great that even Heydar Aliyev's absence in the country had not so negatively impacted on Azerbaijan's development. However, processes in Azerbaijan had gradually fall into decay since mid 1980s. Azerbaijan faced big problems when Heydar Aliyev retired from the political scene in 1987," the president said.

"We all well remember those years and we know that less than two weeks later Heydar Aliyev's retirement from the political power, Armenian nationalists launched an active work on the separation of the Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan and annexation it to Armenia. The factor of Heydar Aliyev restrained them from such actions in previous years," he added.

Separatist tendencies had been intensified since late 1987, and thereby conditions had been created for beginning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, President Aliyev noted. "We all are well aware of that if Heydar Aliyev was in Azerbaijan at that time, the conflict would have never occurred and historical lands of Azerbaijan would have never been under occupation. Heydar Aliyev's heart was beating with Azerbaijan. However, the then Soviet leadership, recognizing the factor of Heydar Aliyev, had used every opportunity to isolate him from Azerbaijan. A smear campaign launched against him was aimed just to erase the factor of Heydar Aliyev in Azerbaijan. However, his deeds and services before Azerbaijan were in the heart of the Azerbaijani people. We well remember the times and all those milestones when we lived in the Soviet Union. But even so, the Azerbaijani people could express their will. Just this will led Azerbaijan to today's development, " he said.

When the pressure and harassment against Heydar Aliyev strengthened, he naturally returned to his homeland, President Aliyev said. "But unfortunately, those presented in the political power in Azerbaijan at that time did not allow him to live in Baku, and he was forced to go to his father's land, Nakhchivan. During his stay in Nakhchivan, the great leader had contributed to Nakhchivan's development and Nakhchivan's people, in turn, had defended Heydar Aliyev. He had very difficult times in his life, but he overcame these tests with honor. Heydar Aliyev had always served to his people, at all times carried out a bold policy and this policy, this courage was manifested at different stages," he sad.

"He promised to serve to Azerbaijan up to the last ditch before the memory of our martyrs, who were killed as a result of aggression against the Azerbaijani people at the January 20 tragedy of 1990. At that time, two years left for the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite this, then at the press conference at the Azerbaijani Permanent Mission in Moscow Heydar Aliyev sharply criticized the Soviet Union and the leadership of the Communist Party, accusing them of the murder of innocent people, and left the Communist Party, which he served for decades," Ilham Aliyev said.

Aliyev said all of these steps required a great political will and courage. "Thanks just to these steps Azerbaijan is an independent state today. The foundation of Azerbaijan's independence was laid at that time. The national tricolor flag of Azerbaijan first was hoisted as an official state flag in Nakhchivan. Then the Soviet Union still existed. Nakhchivan did not take part in the then referendum on preserving the Soviet Union. We well remember all of these historical milestones and, once again turning to this issue, we see what a great personality Heydar Aliyev was. A historical event in the development of Azerbaijan's modern political system occurred just in those years. A New Azerbaijan Party was founded in Nakhchivan in 1992. The Party was founded as an opposition party. Since its establishment to this day, the New Azerbaijan Party as the leading political force greatly contributes to the development of our country," Aliyev said.

He said Heydar Aliyev's returning to the political power in Azerbaijan was also a dictate of the time and people. "A civil war occurred at that time in the country. Chaos, anarchy and crisis reigned in Azerbaijan. Economic and political crisis put the future of Azerbaijan's independent life under question. However, following Heydar Aliyev's returning to the political power upon the people's demand, all negative phenomena had been stopped, all illegal armed groups had been disarmed, stability groups had been established and Azerbaijan began to develop. Our independence would have been lost without determination, courage and political authority of Heydar Aliyev," the president said.

Aliyev said 1993-2003 went down in the Azerbaijani history as a period of stability and development. "The foundation of our statehood was laid in those years. We are absolutely right in saying that Heydar Aliyev is the creator of the modern independent Azerbaijan, as the country was in an unmanaged state for two years after gaining independence. The basis of our statehood and independence was laid namely in 1993. Since then to the present day, Azerbaijan steps only on the way of development. Reforms carried out in economic sphere began to yield results. After securing the political stability, the country began to receive large foreign investments. Then attraction of foreign investment in Azerbaijan required a more professional and political experience, as Azerbaijan was known to the world as a very risky country. There was a very few numbers of those desiring to invest in Azerbaijan. Great political skills and knowledge were required to convince foreign investors, invite them to Azerbaijan and implement major investment projects in accordance with Azerbaijan's national interests," Aliyev stressed.

He said Azerbaijan is successfully developing. "Today's Azerbaijan, independent Azerbaijan is Heydar Aliyev's creation. It is not just words. It is a reality, it is truth. Azerbaijan has become a successfully developing country thanks to the strengthening of the political system, creation of the statehood traditions and adoption of the Azerbaijanism ideology in 1993-2003. Political reforms, our policy of integration into the international community and domestic economic and social reforms conducted in those years have created a solid foundation for the successful development. Today, modern Azerbaijan is successfully developing on this solid foundation. Azerbaijan is pursuing Heydar Aliyev's course. Heydar Aliyev's policy lives in Azerbaijan and manifests itself in all directions. Oil contracts had played a crucial role for the independent existence of our country. Billions of dollars have been invested in the Azerbaijani economy through contracts. Azerbaijan has managed to present itself to the world community as a reliable partner. We were able to gain economic independence as a result of development, transportation and export of our natural resources. The economic independence is the foundation of a state sovereignty. We were able to achieve these successes in 1990s and today we continue them. A creative work and upgrading being conducted in all directions in our country and a rapid development is observed," Ilham Aliyev said.

Over the past seven years, Azerbaijan recorded such economic development rates which is unique worldwide, he said. "Our economy grew by almost threefold. The industrial production increased by 3 times and poverty reduced by 5 times. We already have more financial opportunities and a diversified economy. Moreover, our energy policy is also based on the oil strategy defined by Heydar Aliyev. This strategy is aligned with current requirements and enriched. Today, Azerbaijan plays a very important role in the energy security not only in the region, but also in the continent. Our initiatives, proposals and ongoing projects enhance not only the country, but also create favorable conditions for the regional cooperation," Aliyev stressed.

Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is a historic achievement. "Heydar Aliyev had laid a foundation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. We have completed this project and the pipeline operates since 2006. This project has an exclusive role in strengthening Azerbaijan's economic independence," he added.

President Aliyev said the major Shah Deniz contract signed in 1996 upon Heydar Aliyev's initiative turned Azerbaijan into an indispensable partner in terms of the energy security. "If this right step was not taken in 1996 - in those difficult years, hard times, then the energy security could be a big problem for us today. We have completed the project. The Baku-Erzurum gas pipeline was built in 2007 with a view to export the Azerbaijani gas to the external markets. This corridor has been opened. We have tested this corridor. We enriched this corridor with a railway project. This railway will connect not only Azerbaijan with neighboring states, but also Asia and Europe. I hope we will mark the launch of this historic project in 2012. This corridor plays an indispensable role in our development," Aliyev said.

"Our independence is strengthened. Our economic opportunities and our role in the region grow, and our international position strengthens. Moreover, economic and social issues are being addressed in the country. Our budget expenditures increased by 12 times over the past seven years. Wages and pensions have been repeatedly increased. Today, Azerbaijan is a dynamically developing modern country, which itself meets own demands. Our policy is very open and clear. Formation of a modern political system on powerful economic basis, strengthening the statehood foundations and improving Azerbaijanism ideology are our priority issues. Moreover, certain projects and programs are being realized to continue socio-economic development of our country," the president stressed.

Today, Azerbaijan is also a stabilizing factor in the region, he said. "Our initiatives play a decisive role in the region in many cases. Our participation in the regional issues enriches the regional cooperation and expands its frames. Projects initiated and realized by Azerbaijan attract partners' attention. Azerbaijan has justified itself in the world as a reliable partner. Addressing economic and social issues in our country is developing in a positive direction. The socio-political situation in the country is very positive. We have a multiethnic country. Azerbaijan has become a wonderful venue for intercultural dialogue on a global scale. Our initiatives in this area are also highly appreciated by the international community. Various events conducted recently once again present Azerbaijan to the global community as a very modern and tolerant country," he said.

Aliyev stressed that there is no scope in Azerbaijan that remained aside certain program. "In brief, today's Azerbaijan is a strong, modern and self-supporting state. We must further strengthen and develop the country, achieve the goals set before it, take additional measures to improve the welfare of the Azerbaijani people and seek solutions to economic and social issues. We have achieved all these successes, precisely because the Azerbaijani people displaying wisdom called Heydar Aliyev to political power in 1993. The foundation of our success was laid exactly at the time. The year of 1993 is precisely the beginning of our success. Therefore, Heydar Aliyev's bright memory lives and will always live in the heart of the Azerbaijani people.

We have restored the independence, managed to protect and preserve it. Today, we are strengthening the independence. Independence is the greatest wealth, greatest treasure and biggest value for us. Today's developing and strengthening Azerbaijan is the most beautiful testimony of our respect for Heydar Aliyev. We will further step on this way. Heydar Aliyev`s policy will live in Azerbaijan forever . We will not deviate from this path and we will always be to our national leader Heydar Aliyev`s policy. Thank you!" President Aliyev said.

Then, a presentation ceremony of the Heydar Aliyev award was held.

The Head of State presented the award to people`s writer Anar Rzayev for his special contribution to development of Azerbaijan`s literature.

A film narrating on the Heydar Aliyev Foundation`s activity was shown at the ceremony.

The "Gizil Chinar" (Gold Plane tree) award instituted in 2009 by the Foundation was presented to the winners.

President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva presented the "Gizil Chinar" international award to former Director-General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura for his contribution to expanding dialogue among civilizations and development of relations between Azerbaijan and UNESCO.

ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri was awarded for his fruitful activity to create relations in the fields of science, education and culture and establishment of dialogue among the peoples.

The awarding ceremony was followed by a concert of the Azerbaijan State Chamber Orchestra named after Gara Garayev led by People 's Artist Teymur Goychayev.

The world-famous group Il-divo performed with an interesting program at the ceremony.

The ceremony ended with an interesting and memorable performance of the soloist of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Thater, talented tenor Samir Jafarov.

Photo - Azerbaijani President's official website