BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb. 25
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended a ceremony to give out apartments to families of martyrs and war disabled in the residential complex in Ramana settlement, Baku.
The head of state viewed conditions created at the residential complex.
The 30 nine-storey buildings were built in the complex. The 1,512-apartment complex has a school, kindergarten and a community center.
After familiarizing himself with the complex, President Ilham Aliyev met with members of martyrs` families and war disabled.
The head of state addressed the meeting.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
- A new residential compound for the families of martyrs and those disabled in the war is being commissioned in Ramana settlement of Baku today. I congratulate you on this occasion. Thirty buildings have been built here. All the buildings have been built at a modern level and with high quality, the apartments are very spacious and bright. A kindergarten and a school for 1,200 children is under construction. In other words, all the conditions are available here, so I sincerely congratulate you on this occasion. Only three and a half months have passed since the war, but such a beautiful residential compound, a township has been built and presented to the families of martyrs and those disabled in the war.
At the same time, a rehabilitation center was opened in Shaghan settlement after major overhaul today. Thousands of veterans will receive treatment, rehabilitation and restore their health every year there. At the same time, the most modern prostheses have been ordered for our veterans who lost their hands and arms during the war. I was informed today that more than 300 of our disabled war veterans will be provided with prostheses. Several of our veterans who have lost their legs have already been provided with these prostheses and have been able to return to normal life. These prostheses are the product of the world's leading companies, and they are the most modern prostheses. These prostheses will allow our veterans the opportunity to return to normal life.
The government is doing its best for the families of martyrs and those disabled in the war. My policy in this area is unequivocal. Over the past 17 years, I have repeatedly met with the families of martyrs at various events. To date, about 9,200 families of martyrs and those disabled in the war have been provided with housing by the state. A total of 1,572 apartments were provided last year alone. A further about 3,000 apartments will be provided this year. Thus, the families of our children killed in both the first and second Karabakh wars living in Baku, Sumgayit and Absheron district will be provided with apartments by the end of this year. So we will fully implement this program in Baku, Sumgayit and Absheron district by the end of this year. The construction of buildings and individual houses for the families of martyrs living in other cities and districts is also under way. I am sure that this program will be fully implemented in the near future. I must also say that about 7,200 cars have been provided to those disabled in the war.
By citing these figures, I want like to emphasize the government’s care for this category of people. I want to say that Azerbaijan is one of the leading countries in the world in this area. There have been many wars and losses in the world. If we look at the recent history, we can see that the relatives of those who died in wars in different countries have never been treated with as much care and attention as here. I must also say that there were losses in the Armenian army, and various figures are being cited in relation to the second Karabakh war. According to our information, about 6,000-7,000 invaders were killed. Not a single family has received any help from by the Armenian state. In general, Armenia has no such program at all. The relatives of those killed in the war do not even receive a hut, not to mention a house. Cognition comes through comparison. Our policy in this area is unequivocal. This policy is based on moral norms, and the relatives of those who died for the Motherland will continue to be taken care of by the state. The increase in the amount of benefits and pensions in recent years is obvious. The Azerbaijani state will continue this policy.
We had about 3,000 martyrs in the second Karabakh war. Among them, I also mean civilians. May Allah have mercy on all our martyrs. May Allah grant you and their relatives patience. We bow before the souls of our martyrs. I must say that the blood of our martyrs did not remain unavenged. We have avenged the martyrs of the first Karabakh war and the martyrs of the second Karabakh war. We have taken revenge on the enemy, restored our territorial integrity and will forever cherish the memory of our martyrs in our hearts.
In the first Karabakh war, we had more than 12,000 martyrs and about 4,000 servicemen went missing. We had about 16,000 losses and our lands were occupied. Considering the scale of the second Karabakh war, the number of our martyrs was extremely small. Of course, we revere the memory of each of our martyrs. Everyone's life is priceless. However, given that there was a large-scale war, that we started a counter-offensive operation in the first days and subsequently turned it into an offensive operation, the fortifications the Armenians had built there for 30 years, the five to six lines of defensive fortifications and the local terrain of that region, we can say with full confidence that we achieved what we wanted with minimal losses. Even military experts from the world's leading countries are surprised that we liberated our lands from the occupiers with such small losses. How? Because one of the most important factors for us when we were planning all the operations was to keep the number of our losses low. That factor was always at the forefront when operational plans were being approved for every day.
There is no war without casualties. Our war was a war of freedom, a fair war. Armenia was waging a war of aggression. Justice is on our side. Therefore, our servicemen rose to the peak of martyrdom and honorably fulfilled their civil duty to the Motherland. Thousands of our servicemen have been awarded high state orders and medals. Their heroism, bravery and self-sacrifice should be and will be an example for every Azerbaijani, an example for the younger generation.
We have restored justice, returned the lands that had been occupied for 30 years, and shown the strength of our state and our people. From the first day of the war, we had the advantage. The enemy was in panic and hysteria. According to their own reports, there were more than 10,000 deserters in the Armenian army. The Armenian state does not know how to judge these deserters now because this can also lead to major problems too. There was not a single deserter in the Azerbaijani army. However, there were deserters in the first Karabakh war.
In the first Karabakh war, our heroic sons showed courage. However, the people in charge of Azerbaijan at that time failed to take the necessary measures, especially during the PFPA-Musavat government. The surrender of Shusha, Lachin and Kalbajar to the enemy was a great act of betrayal and, in fact, preconditioned the subsequent course of the war. Because a geographical connection was established between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and after that the Armenians gained a great advantage for the occupation of other lands.
The defense of our regions was almost left to the self-defense forces at that time. There was no regular army. Even the measures necessary to evacuate people from Kalbajar and Lachin were not taken, which resulted in heavy losses among the population. Tomorrow is the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide. The Khojaly genocide is a crime against humanity. This crime was committed by the Armenian state. The blood of victims of Khojaly was also avenged in the second Karabakh war.
Of course, we were preparing for war all these years. We never concealed that because our lands were under occupation and we saw that a negotiated solution to this issue was impossible. We were further convinced of this in recent years. The conduct of the Armenian leadership, its provocative speeches and steps convinced us and the international community that a peaceful solution to this war was impossible. However, high-ranking officials of the Minsk Group co-chair countries have repeatedly said that there was no military solution to the conflict.
But we saw that there was no peaceful solution to the conflict either. Otherwise, this issue would have been resolved over 30 years. There was no interest in it or someone was interested in the neither-war-nor-peace situation. Someone was happy that the people of Azerbaijan were living in such a situation for 30 years. Someone was happy that our lands were under occupation, and it was almost perceived as a means of pressure on Azerbaijan. They tried to convince us that this was a reality, that this reality had existed for 30 years and that Azerbaijan must come to terms with this reality. I kept saying that we would never put up with this situation. I kept saying that we would never allow for the creation of a second so-called Armenian state on our lands, and we did not allow that. We have mobilized all our forces, pursued a consistent policy for many years, done great job in the international arena, in the economic sphere, in our relations with neighboring countries, in the implementation of regional projects and, of course, in improving army building.
At the same time, a young and patriotic generation has grown up. This generation has liberated our lands. Addressing the people of Azerbaijan from the Jidir plain in Shusha, I said that when I came to power in 2003, people aged 25-30 today were children. We raised them in the spirit of patriotism and loyalty to the state, and they liberated our lands from occupiers. In addition, young people who had never been to the occupied territories but were originally from those lands fought like lions for their lands. All the people of Azerbaijan, the representatives of all the peoples living in Azerbaijan united in one fist, defeated the enemy and liberated our lands from occupation. This is a historic event. There has never been such a brilliant victory in the history of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has shown its strength to the whole world, it has shown the resolve of our people. The whole world saw again that if there is a will, if there is strength, if there is unity between the people and the government, if there is determination and courage, justice will always prevail. We have demonstrated that.
Look at Armenia’s state now. There is a crisis, there are daily clashes and arrests, the democratic foundations are almost completely gone. Armenia has never been in such a miserable state. It is their leaders who put them in this situation – both the leaders of the junta that led Armenia for 20 years, the Kocharyan-Sargsyan junta, and the government that came to power after it. The government that came to power afterwards had a choice – either to continue the policy of aggression and bring itself to a miserable state or to leave our lands of its own free will. We gave them this chance, and I said many times during the war that they should give us a timetable of when they would leave our lands, and we would stop the war. And so it happened – as soon as they gave us the timetable, the war stopped. But they were forced to give us this timetable. They didn’t give it of their own accord. After we had destroyed their army, the servicemen of the Armenian army, and brought them to their knees, they were forced to sign an act of capitulation and our victory was confirmed.
We would have liberated all our lands anyway, but there could be many losses, especially in the direction of Kalbajar and Lachin. It was already winter, it was snowing, and we could have suffered heavy losses there. Therefore, we defeated the enemy by military means, drove them out of our lands, liberated Shusha and other cities from the invaders. After that, we returned Lachin, Kalbajar and a part of Aghdam district by political means – these lands are already under our control.
As for the post-war period, everyone can see now that Azerbaijan is developing, construction work has begun, whereas Armenia is in crisis. They are blaming and biting each other. Representatives of foreign countries have always been telling us that the Armenian society demonstrates unity, that there is national accord in the Armenian society. We can clearly see where this national unity has gone now. After this defeat, they blame each other, they accuse each other and there are mass arrests. For some reason, however, certain non-governmental organizations and some governments preaching democracy are turning a blind eye to this. How is it possible that the opposition in Armenia is oppressed, destroyed, arrested and killed on a daily basis, but no-one seems to react to that. What does this indicate? As they say, the 30-year history shows again that we did not gain this victory only over Armenia. Organized and powerful circles were united against us. They wanted to keep our lands under occupation forever. Armenia was just a tool. We have destroyed them. We have overthrown this insidious policy and restored justice.
The Armenian leadership now complains that the weapons given to them were useless. You know, it is easy to blame someone. However, they must also say that these weapons were given to them free of charge. In fact, they were armed against us not just for one year, not for two years, but for 30 years. We are now using all the opportunities available to closely monitor the developments unfolding in the region. We have opportunities, we have enough sources of information. We know how much free weaponry was given to Armenia during the war, how much was given before the war. Immediately after the July clashes, starting from 17 July until the last day of the war, several planes brought free weapons to Armenia every day. Did Armenia buy those Iskander missiles for money? It got them for free. Did they buy Elbrus, Tochka-U and Scud missiles for money? They got it for free. The S-300, seven of which we destroyed, were provided free of charge, just as tanks, artillery and other air defense systems. We have destroyed them all. There is no Armenian army any more. It is gone.
I heard a few days ago that their allies want to revive the Armenian army, to modernize it. Why? Against whom? The war is over. If someone cherishes some revanchist sentiments, they will see this fist again, it is still there, so they should not test our patience. The Armenian army is gone. It is not and should not be there. There should be no army in such a fascist state. We will never allow any threats to us or to our citizens who will return to the liberated lands.
We control all the work. We will continue to strengthen our army. New contracts have been signed, the most modern weapons are being purchased and are already being imported. All modern weaponry available in the world has already been contracted and will be delivered to Azerbaijan. The war also raised the issue of the future of our army. The reforms that will take place will lead to the creation of a more agile, more combatant and more capable army.
A new reality has emerged in the world after the war. We have created this reality, the people of Azerbaijan have. We have shown our determination and strength. Yes, we were waiting. Life has shown that we chose the right moment. We could have counterattacked when there was a provocation against us on the border in July. But I stopped the counterattack then. We drove the Armenians out of our lands, reached the border and did not cross it. They wanted to provoke us to do so. They wanted to provoke us. If I had not stopped our army then and if we had crossed into Armenia in July, the situation would have been different. As a matter of fact, they were provoking us to this. Missiles fired from Armenia led to the destruction of Ganja, Barda, Tartar, Goranboy, Naftalan, Aghdam and Fuzuli districts. One of the missiles fired by them reached Khizi. Notice the distance between Khizi and the zone of military action. Therefore, there were these provocative plans, but the right moment was chosen and the right steps were taken. We destroyed the Armenian army in 44 days, shattering the myths they had been creating over the centuries. We have shown that the people of Azerbaijan are victorious. We have shown that the people of Azerbaijan are combatant. They were on their knees before us. They have never been in such a bad situation. Should someone have punished them or not? They are challenging the whole world. They are putting forward unreasonable demands to the whole world. It looks as if everyone is obliged to help them, to feed them, to give them a drink, to provide them with weapons. They cling to the bodies of countries of the world like a leech. They occupied our lands, left people homeless and destroyed our historical sites and mosques. Then they went on to say that this is Armenian land. Should someone have punished them or not? Should someone have put them on their knees or not? We did that. It is a historic victory, a historic achievement. I want to say again that we have won this victory at the expense of the blood of our martyrs. Martyrs live and will live forever in our hearts. May Allah grant you patience. You, mothers and fathers, have raised remarkable people for our people and our state. Those people did not live long, but they have become immortal and written their names in the glorious history of the Azerbaijani people forever.
I want to express my respect to you. I want to say that the state of Azerbaijan and I as President will always be with you.