Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the meeting with wounded servicemen undergoing treatment at Central Military Clinical Hospital of Defense Ministry
30 September 2020, 14:00
May Allah grant you healing. Dear fellows, you sustained various injuries, you were wounded in the battles for the Motherland. The doctors are taking good care of you. I am sure that the doctors will do their best for you to recover as soon as possible and return to normal life.
According to the information provided to me, all our wounded soldiers and officers live with the desire to recover soon and go back to the military operations zone, to continue to wage the just war for the Motherland. Ours is the cause of justice, we are fighting on our lands, and we are fighting for the Motherland. We are fighting for a fair cause, and I am sure that in this conflict we will achieve what we want. Justice will be served and Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity. Our compatriots who have been living as IDPs for many years will also return to their native lands.
As you know, special attention is paid to the families of martyrs in our country, and government takes care of everything. I should say that Azerbaijan can be considered an exemplary country in the world in terms of attention to the families of martyrs. You know that on my instructions, government provides all the families of martyrs with apartments and houses. This year alone, 1,500 families of martyrs will be provided with housing by the government. In the next two to three years, the families of our heroic sons who perished in the first Karabakh war will be fully provided with houses and apartments. We continue to have martyrs as we speak. We have had martyrs in the battles for the Motherland. May Allah rest their souls in peace, may Allah give patience to their families and relatives. Shedding of their blood will not go unpunished. The enemy is seeing a fitting rebuff.
At the same time, the government provides the Karabakh veterans with necessary support. Their day-to-day problems are addressed. You can also be sure that the government will be by your side, the doctors are doing and will do everything possible for you to recover here as soon as possible and return to normal life.
Azerbaijan is fighting on its own lands and you have been wounded on the path to justice. Our soldiers are saviors, while Armenian soldiers are occupiers. That is the difference. We are fighting on our own lands, while an Armenian soldier dies on the land of another state – Azerbaijan. I call on the Armenian people and urge them not to become hostages of the sordid deeds of their leadership. Let them hold their government accountable today. They should not send their children to Azerbaijan. What is the Armenian soldier doing in Azerbaijan? We are fighting on our own lands. Our soldiers and officers are dying on their own lands, are getting wounded on their own lands, and we are liberating our own lands. During the fighting that has been ongoing for four days now, Azerbaijan’s army successfully conducted an operation and liberated strategic heights and several residential areas.
We are returning to these lands after a long break. We have hoisted our flag on these lands and no-one can push us out of these lands. We must restore our territorial integrity. This is why the Armenian people must understand this. The Armenian people must understand that it is a crime to occupy the land of another state for 30 years, destroy all buildings and historical sites, expel more than 1 million people from their homeland and commit genocide against the Azerbaijani people. We are restoring historical justice, historical justice!”
Karabakh is our native, ancient and historical land. Suffice it to look at the history of the Karabakh khanate to see that the people of Azerbaijan have lived, built and created on these lands for centuries. Our sacred city of Shusha was built by the Azerbaijanis. The lands under occupation today are our historical lands. Our cause is the cause of justice. We want to restore our territorial integrity, we have the right to do so, we are doing it and we will do it.
If the Armenian people want to live in peace, they should hold their government accountable. Because the misfortune of the Armenian people lies in the fact that for many years they were governed by a crooked criminal regime, the regime that committed genocide against the Azerbaijanis only for personal gains and keeps our lands under occupation. I am sure that the Armenian people will understand my words correctly. We have nothing against the Armenian people. Azerbaijan is a multinational state; many nations live here in peace and tranquillity, including the Armenian people. Thousands of Armenians live in Azerbaijan. There are not pushed around because they are our citizens. Therefore, our struggle is a struggle for a just cause. We are right from the point of view of history, from the point of view of international law, from the point of view of justice. Azerbaijani soldiers and officers are fighting for their native land.
Fierce battles are underway in Fizuli, Jabrayil and other occupied territories today, we are suffering losses, our veterans and servicemen are getting wounded. But this fight is a fight for a just cause. Therefore, I want to say again that our cause is just, historical truth, international law and justice are on our side by 100 percent.
On 27 September, the Armenian armed forces committed another military provocation against us. I warned them. I addressed them from the UN rostrum. I told the entire international community that Armenia is preparing for a new war and that Armenia must be stopped. Unfortunately, the international community and the parties involved on this matter were unable to influence the Armenian government properly. If they cannot stop the occupier, then the Azerbaijani soldier will stop them. The Azerbaijani soldier will drive them out of our lands and restore justice. I said that if the military provocations committed against us in July and August are repeated, then Armenia would regret it, and I stand my ground. The advantage gained on the battlefield, our liberated settlements and strategic heights once again show that Azerbaijani soldiers, Azerbaijani officers are fulfilling their civic duty with dignity.
Armenia must end its policy of occupation. Instead, the prime minister of Armenia puts forward conditions. He put forward seven conditions to us. I said some time ago that we reject these conditions. We have one condition – they must leave our lands unconditionally, completely and immediately. This condition is still standing, and if the Armenian government fulfills it, the fighting will cease, bloodshed will stop, and there will be peace. Peace will come to our region. We want peace, we want this issue resolved.
Otherwise, we would not have cherished hopes for negotiations for 30 years. The only reason we remained committed to the negotiation was that there was hope. We were encouraged, they sent us signals that we should bear with them a little longer and the issue would be resolved. But I said that the Azerbaijani people will never accept this occupation. I said that if the issue was not resolved through negotiations, then Azerbaijan had every right to resolve this issue by military means. The Azerbaijani people gave us this right – the right that stems from the international law norms. The charter of the highest international body in world - United Nations states that every country has the right to self-defense, and we are exercising it to defend ourselves. Having launched a counteroffensive, we are inflicting crushing blows on the enemy.
It is not too late. I want to say again: Armenia must vacate our lands immediately. You know that the leaders of various international organizations and different countries are calling me, enquire about this issue, express their views. My response is one –both internationally and domestically. We are on the righteous path, the battles are going on in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan is restoring its territorial integrity, and we have every right to do so. No country in the world recognizes the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh republic. This is our historical land. From the point of view of international law as well, this is our land.
I am confident that Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity. The morale in the army is high. You know that too. There is high morale in society. I have been receiving many letters every day for the last three to four days, both from citizens of the country and from abroad. Most letters from abroad are from brotherly Turkey. In those letters, our Turkish brothers express their desire to fight with us for this just cause. I express my appreciation to them. But I want to say again that there is no need for that. Azerbaijan’s Army is strong and well-equipped. We must resolve this issue so that historical justice is restored. At the same time, on behalf of all of us and all the people of Azerbaijan, I express my deep gratitude to brotherly Turkey, its President, my brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his resolute and brotherly position. My dear brother's very open and harsh statements show again that Azerbaijan is not alone. Turkey is with Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan is always with Turkey!
I have already said this but I want to say again that these bloody battles are the moment of truth for us, for the entire Azerbaijani people. We see who is who. We see that sometimes those who say nice words and make good statements do not keep their word. Words are not the same as deeds. But Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan have unequivocally supported Azerbaijan. You know, there is an international format for negotiations. Unfortunately, this format has not yielded any results. Therefore, calls for dialogue by any party are irrelevant under the current circumstances. They come from the international organizations, the UN is doing it. We naturally accept that. The OSCE is doing this and we accept it because the OSCE has the mandate. But when someone says to us, “let us start such a dialogue, we will also help”, there is no need for that. Now is the moment of truth. Which side are you on – of a truth or a lie, of a friend or an enemy? This is the moment of truth for me, for our people, for all of us.
Of course, we will never forget the countries, organizations and people who support us these days. You know that Azerbaijan has strong positions around the world. In recent years, we have been quite effective in international organizations and have been able to prove our case. We had to prove our case. We can already say that all major international organizations support our position. The UN, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Non-Aligned Movement, European Parliament, and OSCE – all these organizations have issued statements in support of our position. We are grateful for that. This is the legal side of the issue. As for the historical aspect, the historical truth is on our side. Anyone can go online and read. There are materials related to the history of the Karabakh Khanate. There is information on incorporation of the Karabakh Khanate into the Russian Empire. There is information about the Kurekchay Peace Treaty. One of signatories to the Kurekchay Peace Treaty was Ibrahim Khalil Khan of Shusha and Karabakh. This is the way he was referred to in the document –Ibrahim Khalil Khan of Shusha and Karabakh. The other one was a general of Tsarist Russia. There is not a word about the Armenian people in the Kurekchay Peace Treaty. What does that mean? That means there was no Armenian population there at that time, they were resettled there after that. Once they were settled there, they put forward territorial claims against us. Therefore, we are absolutely right. Our fight is a fight for justice. We will not back down from our principled position. I have repeatedly spoken about this from all international platforms and I say today that we are on the path of justice. We must restore our territorial integrity and we will restore it.
The information I receive shows that the Armenian leadership has not learned its lesson in the last three to four days. They are preparing new provocations; they want to bombard our settlements again and continue to do this. Our civilian casualties are growing every day. As of yesterday morning, 10 of our civilians were killed. According to information provided to me this morning, the number of civilians killed has reached 13. What does this mean? This demonstrates the ugly face of Armenian fascism. We have never fought against civilians. Once the counter-offensive operation began, I instructed all our commanders and the Ministry of Defense that no action should be taken against the civilian population. Our goal is the positions, equipment and manpower of Armenia’s armed formations. But they bombard our villages and cities, 13 civilians were killed, more than 40 civilians were wounded, 168 houses were destroyed. This is the face of Armenian fascism. They cannot face us on the battlefield, therefore they strike our villages and towns. But all our compatriots living there are standing firm. Everyone says ‘Long live the Motherland’. They have not retreated a centimeter and, I am sure, will not do that. They are confident that Azerbaijan’s army will protect them. They are looking forward to the moment when the Azerbaijani flag is raised in the occupied territories and the occupation ends.
I want to congratulate you. At a young age, you showed true heroism and courage, fought for your Motherland with dignity and inscribed your names in the history of Azerbaijan. In the meantime, it hurts me, all of us to see you like this. But you can rest assured that we will do everything necessary for your recovery. Everyone who is undergoing treatment in all our hospitals, in our military hospitals now deserves special care, and all our doctors, and not only doctors, but also our people should support you. You can be sure that the government will be by your side. We dream of one thing only – for you to get well as soon as possible, return to normal life and continue your glorious mission. You should be a role model for the youngsters. The people of Azerbaijan are a heroic people, because they raised sons like you.
I want to take this opportunity to pay a tribute of respect to your parents and the parents of our other wounded and martyred servicemen. I want to thank them on my own behalf and on behalf of all the people of Azerbaijan. They have raised heroic children. I am sure that both them and all the people of Azerbaijan are proud of you. We will be victorious, Karabakh is ours, Karabakh is Azerbaijan!