President Ilham Aliyev meets with journalists in Shusha
BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 13
Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan is hosting the “Kharibulbul” music festival. After 29 years, Shusha, the cradle of ancient culture, welcomes its natives and guests again.
On May 12, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, their daughters Leyla Aliyeva and Arzu Aliyeva attended the “Kharibulbul” festival organized on Jidir Duzu plain in Shusha.
The head of state made an opening speech at the festival.
Meeting with journalists after the concert, President Ilham Aliyev said: Thank you for being here, in difficult times. Hello Mirshahin.
Mirshahin: Kudos, Mr. President. Congratulations!
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, thank you very much, and I congratulate all of you.
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The head of state posed for a photo with journalists.
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President Ilham Aliyev: Anar reminded me that you said at the press conference that you wanted to come here. We have fulfilled your request. I wanted our journalists to come first and hold this festival. Where are you staying?
Journalist: We came here directly.
President Ilham Aliyev: OK, directly.
Anar Alakbarov: They will stay here overnight.
President Ilham Aliyev: There are opportunities to stay here now. Let's invite foreign journalists to come and see this.
Journalist: Mr. President, thank you for your attention. We always feel your support, thank you very much.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, I have always supported you. Thank you for raising such topical issues. In many cases, I learn about the processes taking place in the country from you. This in itself encourages executive bodies to work more responsibly.
Journalist: This is our first meeting with you after the war.
President Ilham Aliyev: Indeed.
Journalist: With your permission, I also want to say that I have seen wars in the world for 40 years. This has been the first war in which one person was doing military, political and informational work.
President Ilham Aliyev: Because if you had not communicated the realities associated with this war to the attention of the world community, the international opinion about this issue would have remained distorted. You remember perfectly well that we did not have access to world media at that time. Only you were here and took photos. Meanwhile, the Armenians were using every opportunity to spread utter lies in all countries. This time, however, both you and I communicated the truth about the war. Our brave soldiers climbed those rocks and drove the enemy out of here. Mirshahin, you were here a long time ago, before the occupation. Some are probably here for the first time.
Mirshahin: I was here before the occupation.
President Ilham Aliyev: Someone who comes here for the first time can see that it is generally considered impossible to liberate Shusha. It is hard to just climb here on foot, not to mention carrying a machine gun. And the enemy is on top, with tanks, cannons and firing positions. Indeed, this is an unprecedented heroic saga.
Journalist: I have seen wars in the mountains of Afghanistan. I couldn’t believe this. After the liberation, I came here and saw everything. I climbed from here on foot myself in 1992. The roads were closed, cars wouldn’t be allowed to go through.
President Ilham Aliyev: Which road did you use?
Journalist: Directly from Dashalti. I walked to this place four hours. Snipers fired on me three times, but the shots went wide.
President Ilham Aliyev: You recently published this photo – I have seen it. Remember the state of Azerbaijani soldiers at that time? There was no outfit, no weapons, no controls. Today our soldiers are like lions, they are like lions. They have created a miracle.
Journalist: It is possible to say that nobody lived here.
President Ilham Aliyev: Nobody.
Journalist: Only at the entrance to the city, but not many people.
Mirshahin: I was in one of the houses in Zangazur.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, in the Shurnukhu village.
Mirshahin: That man also shared some good refutations related to the Armenian government. It worked out quite well, very well. He cited five aspects. He also talked about the low pension. He said that Karabakh is Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev: Moreover, he said that he had broken into the house of an Azerbaijani.
Mirshahin: Yes, he made some very important statements.
Journalist: Mr. President, we are particularly grateful to you for the victory in Shusha. This is a truly wonderful victory. This is a huge victory indeed. You seem to have returned life to the Azerbaijani people. You have breathed life into us. Believe me – just a year ago, we could not even dream of coming to Jidir Duzu and attending a concert here. This is an incredible miracle, Mr. President. May Allah bless you and our army.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you!
Journalist: Mr. President, I am saying quite sincerely that there is no such head of state elsewhere in the world.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, thank you very much. A year ago, different music was played here. Other actions were taking place here. The enemy has received a worthy response for those actions, for all its crimes. From now on, only Azerbaijani music, the music of the peoples living in Azerbaijan will sound here. This is truly a great historic achievement. Every time I come here, I experience special feelings. I am sure that you are also experiencing these feelings, because we have been lucky to see Shusha again. This is great happiness. Of course, we are seeing again that Shusha is a truly Azerbaijani city because one can feel the Azerbaijani spirit here. Architectural sites, springs – although the Armenians have changed the patterns and erased the inscriptions on these springs. Nevertheless, the Azerbaijani culture is in full swing all around us, so to speak. We are back forever. We will live here forever. I have said that Shusha will become one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Not only Shusha, but also all other liberated cities.
Journalist: I have been traveling in Karabakh for six months and am an engineer and architect myself. Indeed, I haven’t seen such beautiful places anywhere else in the world. Indeed, the beauty of Shusha and Kalbajar is unique.
President Ilham Aliyev: People lived here, albeit only a few. According to the information we have – we later clarified this information – about 1,600 Armenians lived here, mostly military personnel and their families. In other words, there was never an Armenian population here. You can see the way the city looked during the occupation. We have tidied up the city a little, we have been cleaning for six months now, trying to make the city clean and orderly. All buildings were destroyed and unfinished. There are no new buildings. They have built several villas for themselves – you have probably seen them. Historical buildings have been destroyed and there is no urban infrastructure. Have a look – those pylons were not there before. They were using the pylons from ancient times. They claimed that this was an Armenian city, but if it was Armenian, then why did you bring it to such a state? Why didn't you live here? Why didn't you build anything? Why did you destroy it?
Journalist: Nobody would burn their house when leaving.
President Ilham Aliyev: Of course!
Journalist: But they did, which means that these houses were not theirs.
President Ilham Aliyev: You have also visited other liberated lands. There is pristine nature there, the color of those trees and the sky. I have not seen such colors.
Journalist: Aghdam is completely ruined. Seeing this picture, one thinks that this was done only in an attempt to erase memory. After all, why would someone settle scores with a grave? They simply wanted to erase history, to erase memory. I think that only this was their goal.
President Ilham Aliyev: Of course it is. They wanted to erase history so that we never come back. They believed that Azerbaijan would never get on its feet. They didn't believe that we could get on our feet. They did not believe that we could have both strength and determination. This is why they were saying: let's destroy everything so that they never come back, let’s erase history, destroy monuments and graves. And tomorrow we will say that it was Armenian land, and they said exactly that. Shahbulag was brazenly renamed into Tigranakert. What a falsification! They claimed that Shusha was an Armenian city. But this city was founded by Panahali Khan. We all know this well. He also called it Panahabad. How can it be an Armenian city if Panahali Khan arrived here from Aghdam 275 years ago?
Journalist: Moreover, Mr. President, they also threw some new stones there. I saw it myself.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes.
Journalist: Supposedly it was “Tigranakert”.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, there?
Journalist: Yes, right next to Shahbulag.
Journalist: I have seen several churches in Kalbajar, old churches, and the Armenians added new stones to them. And they did this in such a way that it is immediately noticeable. Seeing this, I immediately said that they were all fake stones. I asked people and they said that these stones were brought here 10-15 years ago.
Serviceman: Mr. Commander-in-Chief, with your permission, Special Forces want to have a photo with you.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, absolutely!