Azerbaijani president, first lady attend ceremony of presenting apartments, cars to families of martyrs (PHOTO)

Details added: first version posted on 14:26

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug. 26

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President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva have attended a ceremony to give out apartments and cars to families of martyrs, war disabled and heroes of the Patriotic War in Absheron district.

The head of state addressed the ceremony.

Speech of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- This is another meeting I am having with the families of martyrs and Karabakh war veterans. At the beginning of our meeting, I would request that we remember our martyrs who died heroically for the Motherland with a minute of silence.

May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace!

In recent years, I have had numerous meetings with the families of martyrs and disabled veterans of the Karabakh war. In all our meetings before the war, I said that we would return our lands at any cost, we would return Karabakh, we would restore our territorial integrity, we would avenge our martyrs, and this is exactly what happened. Azerbaijan has restored justice, has restored international law, has returned its lands and has avenged the blood of its martyrs.

Today, in the months that have passed since the war, a completely different atmosphere prevails at our meetings with the families of martyrs and veterans of the Karabakh war. Whereas in previous years we always paid tribute to the memory of our martyrs and promised to take revenge for them, today we can proudly say that we did not leave the blood of our martyrs unavenged, we have restored justice, we have driven the enemy our of our lands and inscribed our name in the history of the world as a victorious nation. Today, great work is being done and should be done to perpetuate the memory of the martyrs of the first and second Karabakh wars and to keep them in our hearts. The provision of the families of martyrs and Karabakh war veterans with housing was one of the key directions of our policy, and this is still the case today. At the same time, of course, this process will last for a certain time because this problem will be completely eliminated in the near future. At the same time, we must be more active in conveying the truth about the Second Karabakh War to the world community. This topic must also be in the forefront of education of our youth. Because our victory in the Second Karabakh War, in the Patriotic War is a historic victory for us.

So far, tremendous work has been done as part of our state policy for the families of martyrs and those disabled in the war. Suffice it to say that about 10,000 people of this category have been provided with apartments and private houses by the state. A total of 1,572 apartments were provided last year alone. This year, about 3,000 apartments will be provided, and thus the problem of people waiting in line will be resolved. At the same time, 50 cars will be presented today. To date, the number of cars presented exceeds 7,000, more precisely, 7,200. More than a thousand citizens of this category will live in the residential complex we are gathered for the opening of today. All conditions are available here. It is a beautiful residential complex and close to the main roads. A school for 1,500 people where we are meeting now, a kindergarten, bright, beautiful and comfortable apartments have been built, and this once again shows the policy pursued by the state.

I must also say that Azerbaijan can be considered an exemplary country in the world in this area. I want to say again that so far about 10,000 citizens have been provided with apartments and private houses. We allocate fairly large funds from the state budget every year to resolve these issues, and this program will be fully implemented in the coming period. Relevant instructions have been given to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, and when next year's budget is approved, of course, this issue will be resolved. I must also say that on the basis of an order I signed yesterday, those who showed heroism in the Second Karabakh War and were awarded the title of hero will be provided with apartments, and the relevant order was signed. All those named Heroes of the Patriotic War will be provided with apartments. The families of martyrs awarded this title will also be provided with apartments.

At the same time, after the war, more than 9,000 people received social benefits. On average, 2 payments were made per person. Our wounded servicemen are being provided with the most modern prostheses. Such an opportunity has been created for them and the latest generation of prostheses have been purchased. According to the information provided to me, more than 180 people need prostheses, and 140 of them have already been provided with them, and these prostheses are returning them to normal life. They can walk, run and even play football. This is an integral part of our policy. I have repeatedly said that we must always pay attention to the most vulnerable people, and we also did that within our financial capabilities after the First Karabakh War. We did less when we had fewer opportunities, we did more when we had more opportunities, but we did that and we are still doing it today.

At the same time, thousands of new homes are being built for people who lost their property during the war. When the hated enemy was defeated on the battlefield, they wanted to avenge that on the civilians. Many of our cities were under constant fire, were bombarded with artillery, with banned bombs, white phosphorus bombs and ballistic missiles. More than a hundred civilians, including women and children, were killed and thousands lost their property. That is why this work is being done today. Thousands of houses are being built, and most of them have already been built.

Of course, all this requires a lot of money, and Azerbaijan does all this at its own expense, does not need anyone, does not ask for help from anyone, does and will do all this at its own expense. In particular, all restoration work on the liberated lands is carried out at the expense of Azerbaijan. We have adopted a special program on the restoration of Karabakh and East Zangazur. This program covers several years, and its first year - 2021 is being implemented. Today, the construction and landscaping work in those areas is in evidence. For many, this has been very unexpected, some are surprised that we are doing this at such a high pace. Of course, financial resources alone are not enough. There must be technical capacity, human resources and domestic resources to implement such large-scale projects. We have mobilized all these forces and are eliminating the consequences of Armenian savagery today. I said that we would turn Karabakh and East Zangazur into a paradise. We will do that – just as all the promises made so far have been kept, not a single promise has not been fulfilled, and our brilliant victory in the Second Karabakh War is a clear proof of this.

During the war, the Azerbaijani military showed professionalism, bravery, courage, heroism, and at the same time, self-sacrifice. They were literally ready to die. The memory of our martyrs is sacred for each one of us. When we planned our operations, we first of all thought about the possible losses, and in comparison, Azerbaijan has suffered fewer losses. The life of every martyr is unique, the death of each martyr is a tragedy for his relatives, it is a great sorrow.

At the same time, I want to say that the number of martyrs could have been higher if we had not taken this factor into account when planning our operations. Therefore, compared to the Armenian army, our losses are quite small. It is true that Armenia is hiding its losses. However, according to the accurate information we have, they have at least 7,000-8,000 casualties. As a result of ongoing search operations in the liberated lands alone, the bodies of more than 1,600 Armenian occupiers have been found. Here, too, Azerbaijan shows humanism. After the First Karabakh War, we had about 4,000 missing people. The Armenians did not return their bodies to us. However, we are doing this guided by the most sublime signs and principles of humanism. When we planned all our operations, we watched their progress. We watched them live. We know that the enemy has lost at least 7,000-8,000 people. Azerbaijan has lost about 3,000 people, and this is given the fact that we were conducting a counterattack. There were five to six defensive lines, there were large engineering fortifications, the natural terrain was unfavorable for us. It is understandable how much we thought about people's health and survival, and we achieved this.

The Second Karabakh War will go down in history forever. There has never been such a bright and complete victory in the centuries-old history of the Azerbaijani people. We have liberated more than 300 cities, villages and settlements from the occupiers on the battlefield. We have forced the occupiers to sign an act of capitulation and leave other regions of its own free will. However, from the first days of the war, I said that the Armenian leadership must provide us with a timetable of when they would leave our lands, and we are ready to stop the war. And this is what happened. On 9 November, Armenia was ready to sign an act of capitulation. The date of return of Aghdam, Kalbajar and Lachin districts to us was determined. In the early hours of 10 November, Armenia signed an act of capitulation and the war ended. The cessation of the war by us was also a completely reasonable step. Because if the war had continued, first of all, we would have had more losses. If the war had continued, the liberation of Kalbajar and Lachin districts would have faced certain difficulties. Because the climate of that region, the mountains could be a problem for us. And that winter was beginning. At the same time, Azerbaijan was waging war according to the laws of warfare. Unlike Armenians, we did not commit war crimes or pursue a policy of ethnic cleansing. This once again shows the greatness of our people, the wisdom of our policy. This is why we did everything on time, at the right time. We liberated our lands on time, stopped the war on time and achieved a historic victory. As I said a few days ago, we have shattered all the Armenians myths. Today, Armenia openly admits that it cannot provide for its own security, protect its borders and live at its own expense. Under such circumstances, there can be no talk of independence. It is completely unfounded to call Armenia an independent country. Because the absolute majority of the features of an independent country are not present in the Armenian state. The reason is their policy of aggression. If they had heeded my words and vacated our lands on time, they would not have been in such a disgraceful situation. As a result, they still had to follow my words. I said that they should get out of our lands. They did get out of there. As a result, what I said proved right, but they only lost time. Everyone can see what state Armenia is in today. Of course, they will experience the shock of the bitter defeat for many years to come. From now on, we will live as a victorious country, a victorious people. We will live with pride. We will build our own future and restore the liberated lands. We will always cherish the memory of our martyrs in our hearts.

After the war, the whole world saw the predatory face of Armenian savagery. Because during the years of occupation before the war, the Armenian side did not let anyone into the occupied territories. At the same time, the mediators dealing with this issue did not want to go there. However, illegal settlement is a war crime. Whereas in the early 1990s Armenia carried out this illegal settlement secretly, it had recently become so depraved that it was doing it openly. Just remember the reports broadcast on their television before the war. Armenians from abroad – from Syria and Lebanon – were giving interviews in Shusha. They said yes, we have come to live here. This is the land of Armenia. We are living here. They were circulating reports about that, about these war crimes. There was no-one to blame them for that but us. The Minsk Group did not say a word to them. Illegal settlement was carried out not only in Shusha, but also in Jabrayil, Zangilan, Kalbajar and Lachin. Only in Aghdam and Fuzuli, settlement was not carried out. Because there was nothing there, everything was destroyed, all our cities and villages were destroyed. But it was conducted in other places – Zangilan, Gubadli, Lachin, Kalbajar and Shusha. There was illegal settlement. It is true that it wasn’t going very fast because they did not have human resources, but it was going on. This is a war crime. Not only Armenia is responsible for this war crime, but also those who turned a blind eye to it. Our successful operations put an end to this. But as I said today, the whole world can see the Armenian savagery today. They can sees that Armenians have destroyed our mosques, more than 60 mosques have been destroyed. Armenians kept cows and pigs in our mosques. This is an insult to the entire Muslim world. I once again turn to the leaders of all Muslim countries and say to you – never forget this, do not turn a blind eye to this, do not ignore this. The Armenian leadership has insulted the entire Muslim world. It was Armenians who destroyed graves and sold gravestones, it was Armenians who removed the golden teeth of the dead, it was Armenians who demolished our mosques and houses. It was also Armenians who demolished our houses. Everyone can and must see this. We regularly take foreign guests, journalists, politicians and public figures to the liberated lands so that they can see and know that we have not only liberated our territory from occupation, we have liberated the whole region from Armenian fascism.

Today, we are restoring historical justice by rebuilding these territories. Unfortunately, our people have been facing injustice for many years. In the 1920s, our people suffered two major blows. First, in 1920. At that time, the Soviet government tore our historical lands of Zangazur apart from Azerbaijan and annexed it to Armenia. After that, Azerbaijanis of that region were deported.

Secondly, in 1923, an artificial entity was created in our territory – the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, although there were no grounds for its creation. There was no historical basis, there was no geographical basis, there was no economic basis. There was no basis at all. Simply put, this artificial entity was injected into our souls so that it could sit there like a ticking bomb and explode at the right time. And this is what happened. On 7 July 1923, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region was established. Its central city was our Khankandi settlement. It was also named after executioner Stepan Shaumyan – Stepanakert. Our people suffered two great blows. Then there were other blows. The deportation of Azerbaijanis from the territory of Armenia – the lands of ancient Azerbaijan in 1940-1950, the rise of Armenian separatism in the late 1980s and the failure of the Soviet government to react to it. On the contrary, they provoked the separatists. Their supporters laid claims on us. The secession of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan and its annexation to Armenia was a thesis put forward in Soviet times. This thesis started floating around just two weeks after Heydar Aliyev had left power. Apparently, there had been such plans for a long time. But the Heydar Aliyev factor, his determination and strength did not allow them to stand up. It was a ticking bomb that was planted in Azerbaijan in 1923, and it exploded at that time. The then leadership of Azerbaijan was simply not ready for that or could not fulfill its duties. In some cases, there was betrayal, there was treachery. As a result, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region was de facto separated from Azerbaijan even in Soviet times. A special committee was set up there. A pro-Armenian man was appointed there from Moscow to lead that committee. As a matter of fact, he joined up with the Armenians and opposed us.

The Azerbaijanis had become a defenseless community in their own homeland. The following history is known to all. We are reversing this anti-Azerbaijani policy now. We are doing things that some people never even dreamed of. Today, we have full ownership of the region, we have a say, we have liberated the occupied territories. We are now strengthening our stance these lands.

I have noticed that some foreign media saying that Azerbaijan has liberated seven districts. This is not true. We have liberated seven districts, but at the same time we have also liberated the city of Shusha, we have also liberated Hadrut, we have also liberated 60 percent of Khojavand district, we have liberated the settlement of Sugovushan. This is why we have liberated more than seven districts. The strategic importance of these districts is obvious. Everyone can look at the map and see that Azerbaijan has dominant strategic positions – both in the Karabakh region and on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border. Whereas 7 July 1923 was a tragedy for our people, in 2021 we turned this black page. 7 July will go down in history as a great date. Because on 7 July 2021, I signed a decree on the establishment of the Karabakh and East Zangazur economic zones, and historical justice has been restored.

Recalling the memory of our martyrs again, I must say that you – their relatives – that are proud of them. You are rightly proud of them. All the people of Azerbaijan are proud of our martyrs and servicemen. The memory of our martyrs will live forever in our hearts.

I congratulate you once again on this occasion. I wish you good health. Thank you.

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