President Ilham Aliyev has attended a ceremony to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
The representatives of the government of the Autonomous Republic, of the diplomatic corps accredited to Azerbaijan, of the Nakhchivan public, scholars, scientists, cultural figures and artists who were assembled in the auditorium of the Heydar Aliyev Palace in the city of Nakhchivan gave President Ilham Aliyev a hearty welcome.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev delivered an extensive speech at the ceremony.
Speech by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear citizens of Nakhchivan,
Dear ambassadors, dear friends.
Today is a very significant day in the life of our country. Today, we commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. I sincerely congratulate all the inhabitants of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, and also the entire Azerbaijani people, on this remarkable occasion. Nakhchivan is ancient Azerbaijani land. Historical monuments, religious monuments, architectural monuments, all place names in Nakhchivan belong to the Azerbaijani people. The Azerbaijani people has for centuries lived and worked on this splendid land.
At the same time, Nakhchivan has an ancient history of statehood. Nakhchivan was the center of the ancient state of the Atabegs. It is no accident that the status of an autonomous entity within Azerbaijan was conferred on Nakhchivan 90 years ago. This was a remarkable historic event. It was a decision reflecting the role of Nakhchivan, the strategic importance of the territory. But at the same time, an injustice was done to our people then, when Zangezur, Azerbaijani land from time immemorial, was partitioned from Azerbaijan and given to Armenia. This was a great injustice - as Zangezur is a historical Azerbaijani land from time immemorial. Azerbaijanis made up the absolute majority of the population of Zangezur then. The names of all of the settlements of Zangezur were Azerbaijani names. Therefore injustice and ill-will towards the Azerbaijani people played the key role in the adoption of this decision. At the same time, by this decision, Azerbaijan was divided into two parts geographically. The great Turkic world was divided into two parts at the same time. This is an injustice, a running sore. But I am absolutely convinced that the time will come when we, Azerbaijanis, will return to all our historical lands.
The development of Nakhchivan is closely linked to the name of the great leader, Heydar Aliyev. First of all because it was Nakhchivan which bestowed upon the Azerbaijani people that figure of genius – the great leader Heydar Aliyev. The great leader paid considerable attention to Nakhchivan at all times. In the 1970s - early 1980s he laboured greatly for the republic’s socio-economic development. Nakhchivan at that time, as everywhere else in Azerbaijan, was witnessing a period of rapid development. In the early 1980s, under the guidance of the great leader, Azerbaijan occupied a pole position in the Soviet Union, and great social construction work was being carried out in Nakhchivan, too. Nakhchivan’s industrial potential was formed. In short, the autonomous republic was going through a period of development
Unfortunately, after Heydar Aliyev moved from Azerbaijan to Moscow, a period of decline set in in Nakhchivan, as in the whole of Azerbaijan. All the achievements were gradually reduced to naught and a very difficult period began for the autonomous republic. We recall that time well. The end of the 1980s was a time of real trials and tribulations for Nakhchivan. Fortunately, with the great leader at the helm once again, the citizens of Nakhchivan managed to overcome that ordeal with flying colors.
It was in the early 1990s that the fate of Nakhchivan was decided. If Heydar Aliyev had not been in Nakhchivan during those years and if the people of Nakhchivan had not rallied closely around the great leader, Nakhchivan’s lot could have been a very difficult one.
As Armenian nationalists had already embarked upon their annexationist policy against Azerbaijan, the occupation of Nakhchivan also figured in their sinister designs. At that time the situation in Nakhchivan remained stable at the cost of great hardships. The leadership of Azerbaijan then was alienated from Nakhchivan, failed to lend it any assistance, and, on the contrary, committed unseemly acts with a view to destabilizing and aggravating the situation in Nakhchivan.
However, the people of Nakhchivan, as always, acted wisely and rallied closely around the great leader forming a single fist; their response to the Armenian aggressors was convincing - they put them in their place and at the same time expressed their protest against the central government of Azerbaijan, stating that these sinister scenarios would not work in Nakhchivan.
A state coup was also attempted in Nakhchivan. We remember that well. It is recent history. And once again, the decisiveness, wisdom and bravery of the great leader, the belief of the people of Nakhchivan in him allowed us to overcome that ordeal. Historic decisions not just for Nakhchivan but for the whole of Azerbaijan, too, were taken during those years. The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was called the Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
The name of Nakhchivan was changed then. The words “Soviet Socialist” were omitted from the name of the autonomous republic on the proposal of the great leader. It was in Nakhchivan in the 1990s that the flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was first adopted as the state flag and the Supreme Majlis of Azerbaijan was petitioned for the Azerbaijani state to also approve this flag as the official state flag. Nakhchivan did not take part in the illegal referendum in 1991 on preserving the Soviet Union. That is, these steps subsequently determined the state independence of Azerbaijan. In those years, the great leader once again displayed resoluteness and bravery and showed how great his attachment to his people and to his nation was. He demonstrated yet again that state interests, the interests of Azerbaijan are paramount to him. Having overcome these ordeals, Nakhchivan embarked upon the path of development.
The role of the great leader in the history of Azerbaijan is indispensable. Many books and scientific works have been written about the role of individuals in history. The life and work of the great leader, his policies offer ample enough material about the role of individuals in history. The role of this great individual is so significant and valuable that the independent Azerbaijani state is living and developing today thanks to the policies, boldness and vision of the great leader.
Our independence is our greatest asset. We all know well that Azerbaijan acquired independence at the outset of the XX century, too. But we were unable to defend this independence. There were specific reasons why this independence was short-lived. But that is the reality of it. Moreover, it was then, during the years of independence, in 1918, that Irevan, our land from time immemorial, was handed over to Armenia on the basis of a resolution adopted by the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. And likewise, it was a few years later that Bolshevik Soviet power handed Zangezur over to the Armenians. It was likewise at the end of last century that Karabakh was occupied. See what great tragedies have befallen our people. But despite that, the will of our people was unbroken. Despite that, Azerbaijan is experiencing a period of confident development today. A strong Azerbaijan is playing a stabilizing role for the region today. I am absolutely sure that a strong Azerbaijan and a strengthening Azerbaijan will allow us to restore our territorial integrity and to return to all our historical lands in the future.
In recalling these years, we all see once again just how difficult these years were, but, at the same time, just how glorious our victory was. Since it was the victory of the Azerbaijani state, of the Azerbaijani people. The Azerbaijani people was able to defend its independence. Precisely because the foundations of independence were laid in Nakhchivan in the early 1990s. Precisely because the great leader left Nakhchivan for Baku in 1993 at the request of the Azerbaijani people and delivered Azerbaijan from great misfortunes, from civil war, brought stability to Azerbaijan.
Since 1993 Azerbaijan has been experiencing a period of stability, rapid growth, and the role of Heydar Aliyev, the founder of our independence, in these successes is indispensable.
Nakhchivan is also developing dynamically. All issues are being resolved successfully in Nakhchivan. This trip is my 11th to Nakhchivan over the past 10 years. One can say that I come to Nakhchivan every year, learn about the ongoing development here and I am very glad. I am very glad that Nakhchivan is a prosperous territory today.
Yesterday, on learning once again about the work done in Nakhchivan over the past year, I again saw for myself what great work is being carried out, the great love and attention with which the leadership of Nakhchivan is striving to develop the autonomous republic. I sincerely congratulate the citizens of Nakhchivan on all these successes.
The military potential of Nakhchivan has been strengthened substantially. Nakhchivan’s army today is a strong army.
Supplying the Nakhchivan army with military equipment is organized at the highest level. This is natural as Nakhchivan is strategically located. Nakhchivan is living under blockade conditions therefore Nakhchivan’s fighting potential should be at the highest level. This is the case today. Additional measures will be taken in future to beef up Nakhchivan’s military potential. Nakhchivan’s military potential should be such that it could respond to any aggression appropriately and convincingly. That is already a reality today. Thanks to the additional measures which will be taken over the next years, we will create an even greater military potential in Nakhchivan. The possibilities for that exist. The Azerbaijani state is a rich state. As you know, military purposes account for the main spending in our state budget. As long as our lands are occupied, this is as it should be.
Azerbaijan’s army today figures among the strong armies globally. The reforms implemented in building the army, the creation of a detached army in Nakhchivan, equipping it with the latest weapons, ammunition and hardware are our state policy. That is, additional measures will be taken in forthcoming years, too, to build up Nakhchivan’s military strength.
Energy security issues are fully resolved in Nakhchivan. This is very gratifying. Today, Nakhchivan is supplied with gas 100 per cent. There is natural gas in all settlements. Nakhchivan today has been able to fully ensure its energy security in terms of electricity supply. There are even opportunities for exporting electricity.
We remember those years well. I came to Nakhchivan in the early 1990s time and again, too. We lived virtually in darkness. There was no lighting in the streets - or in homes, either. There were major disruptions to electricity supply.
That was the biggest problem. To say nothing of gas. Today, Nakhchivan not only fully meets its own energy supply – it even exports energy. The most important thing is that Nakhchivan meets its internal energy supply 100 per cent through renewable energy sources. I can say that this is very rarely seen in the world.
As of today, Nakhchivan’s electricity generating potential is around 220 MW. These possibilities were created thanks to the power stations built in recent years. Five power stations have been built in recent years. There are no problems at all with electricity today. And not just today – there will be no problems with it in the future, either. Of course, we must organize our energy potential in such a way that it guarantees our rapid development for many years to come because without electricity no development is possible. A growing economic potential, industrial development, a growing population call for an energy supply that is constantly at a high level. In short, that issue has been resolved today.
Yesterday I also encountered examples of locally made goods exhibited in Nakhchivan. Products manufactured in enterprises set up in Nakhchivan in the past few years were on display at that exhibition. This is also very gratifying, as local production is growing. Nakhchivan’s industrial potential is growing, exports are increasing and at present Nakhchivan’s export potential to the tune of 100 million dollars has been created. It can be said that food security issues are fully resolved in Nakhchivan. I inquired, asked yesterday how things were in that regard. Vasif Talibov told me that Nakhchivan’s supply with the basic foodstuffs was fully guaranteed. This is also a major achievement, a great success.
The implementation of infrastructure projects, laying roads, the current implementation of potable water and sewage projects are also very important events. In short, all of Nakhchivan’s social, economic, infrastructure and military issues are being resolved at a high level.
Nakhchivan is becoming prettier; it is being equipped with modern facilities and becoming a beautiful, modern city. And not just the city of Nakhchivan – so are other cities, too. There are modern medical units in all district centers now. The biggest central hospital is under construction in Nakhchivan. A diagnostic center and a maternity center were built earlier.
It will take a lot of time to enumerate all the work carried out, and you, citizens of Nakhchivan, know that well. I simply want to voice my impressions, my joy that Nakhchivan today, in the true sense of the word, is developing confidently and successfully. I wish you, the people of Nakhchivan, new successes in your future endeavours, too.
I want to reiterate that the policies of the great leader are the foundation of these successes. We, his followers, are true to these policies. The great leader has been gone from our midst for around 11 years now. But his ideas, policies, his policy line are alive. Azerbaijan is developing confidently and successfully. Azerbaijan is implementing its policy as an independent state, in the true meaning of the word. In the example of a developing Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani people can clearly see the advantages of independence today. Independence is our greatest asset. Even if there was no development, even if we lived in dire circumstances, freedom and independence are paramount nevertheless. But we are not just an independent state, the masters of our own fate and implementing an independent policy. We are a successful state. We have achieved great successes. The results of the past 10 years are evident. There are the statistics, history, reality. Over the past 10 years no other country has had such economic development as Azerbaijan.
The economy has grown threefold over just 10 years.
One can say that the problem of unemployment which plagued us for so many years has been eliminated. Poverty is at the lowest level. Azerbaijan today is on a par with the most advanced countries in all economic parameters and also outstrips developed countries in several parameters. Our national external debt is 8 per cent of GDP. Azerbaijan has considerable monetary reserves which account for 70 per cent of GDP. The budget deficit is at a very low level. The investments in infrastructure projects are making themselves felt everywhere in our country today and are opening up new opportunities. The opportunities for business are very good, too. Azerbaijan has a liberal economy. Azerbaijan’s economy is 39th in the world in terms of competitiveness.
That is, the reforms implemented, the well-though-out policy, the unity of the people and government are the determinants of our successes. The development over the past 10 years is evidence that we, the followers of the great leader, have fulfilled his whole mandate honourably.
Political reforms are being implemented successfully. A free society has taken shape in Azerbaijan. All freedoms exist.
There are all the freedoms – freedom of political activity, freedom of the press, freedom of the internet, freedom of assembly, freedom of conscience. Azerbaijan is a democratic state. Azerbaijan is a state whose development is determined by the people. The interests of the Azerbaijani people are paramount to us. Azerbaijani values, our national values are the main direction for us – this is our main path.
That is, today, the Azerbaijani state is built on a solid foundation. This foundation is based on the history, values, centuries created by our people. It is based on our national ideology which was authored by the great leader, Heydar Aliyev. At the same time, our state is built on a solid economic base today. Economic independence is the main condition for our political independence.
Azerbaijan has become a very important partner for the world today. Our international prestige and authority are growing.
The global community supports us. Otherwise 155 countries would not have voted for us. We were a member of the UN Security Council. For the first time we chaired the world’s most influential organization – the Security Council. This year we will preside over the Council of Europe. The number of our friends in the world, of those who want to cooperate with us, is growing. Such is our international authority. Our international authority, economic strength, military potential, solution of social issues, successful implementation of regional development programmes and our principled policy.
We have a principled position on every issue. Azerbaijan demonstrates its principled position on every international event. This position is built on principles. International law and justice – these two principles should be the prime principles for any country. This is so for us. The growing respect for Azerbaijan in the world today also springs from our principled position. Our partners know that Azerbaijan is a reliable partner. There are no discrepancies between our word and deed.
We view the future with great hopes and optimism. Our future will be even finer. To tell the truth, I do not think that there is any need today for superfluous words about the future development of Nakhchivan. Since all the work has been done here to the highest level. I want to note again that you have resolved all the issues – constructive work, providing services and facilities, energy security, military potential, the implementation of infrastructure projects, food security issues. New successes are all that have to be added to these successes in the future.
The successful, dynamic development of Azerbaijan, including of its inalienable part – Nakhchivan, will be ensured in the future, too. We will carry out the work which we have not been able to do so far. There is still work that needs to be done. But I can say that most of the main social and economic issues troubling our people have been resolved. We are forging ahead confidently. The road ahead of us is open. That road was laid by the great leader. I want to say once again that we are devoted to that policy. Our path is the path of independence, national pride, development and progress. Nobody can make us deviate from this path.
Dear friends, once again, I want to sincerely congratulate all the people of Nakhchivan and the whole Azerbaijani people on this fine occasion
Glory to the Azerbaijani people, long live Nakhchivan!
Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov spoke next.
Members of the intelligentsia of the Autonomous Republic were awarded various orders, medals and honorary titles for their services to the socio-economic development of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic under orders from President Ilham Aliyev dated 5 April 2014.
The head of state presented these awards to the recipients.
President Ilham Aliyev once again expressed his congratulations on the 90th anniversary of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
Following the official part of the jubilee ceremony, the top artists of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic put on a concert performance.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov, along with the guests attending the ceremony, viewed the concert attentively.
The concert was followed by a reception thrown in honor of the 90th anniversary of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
President Ilham Aliyev first of all spoke with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to our country who had come to the city of Nakhchivan to attend the jubilee ceremony.
Then a photograph was taken to commemorate the event.