The message of congratulation from Ilham Aliyev to the people of Azerbaijan on the Novruz holiday
18 March 2023, 19:10
Dear brothers and sisters.
I sincerely congratulate you on the upcoming Novruz holiday.
This is the third time I am sending my Novruz greetings to the people of Azerbaijan from our native Karabakh. This is great happiness. Today, we are honoring the memory of our heroic martyrs who gave us this happiness. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace! I am sending my warm greetings to the heroic Azerbaijani soldiers who gave us this happiness. We have regained our native lands at the cost of their lives.
During the Second Karabakh War, the entire Azerbaijani people were as united as a fist. I am sending my greetings to all the people of Azerbaijan again. I wish the Azerbaijani people continued success and victories!
Our lands were under occupation for nearly 30 years. Armenia carried out a policy of ethnic cleansing against our people. Hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis were forced out of their native lands, became refugees and displaced persons. Acts of genocide, injustice and war crimes were committed against our people. We will never forget that. We must never forget that.
For 30 years, we raised our voice of justice in all international organizations because of the occupation. Unfortunately, there was no reaction to our words from any institution. On the contrary, the mediators involved in the Karabakh conflict tries not to solve the issue but to freeze it. The new information that has been emerging over the two and a half years since the Second Karabakh War confirms this again.
We have restored our rights, we have restored on the battlefield. In 44 days, we expelled the contemptible enemy from our lands and raised the Azerbaijani flag in Karabakh. This is the brightest page of the centuries-old history of Azerbaijan. For 44 days, the people of Azerbaijan were united behind our army like a fist. We liberated the occupied lands by shedding blood.
Unfortunately, Armenia has not yet learned the lessons of the Second Karabakh War. Because we are seeing that revengeful forces have risen in Armenia. Territorial claims against Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani lands are still being put forward in Armenia. We are warning the Armenian leadership to refrain from these dirty deeds. We are also warning certain countries that stand behind Armenia from here, from the liberated village of Talish, to stop these dirty deeds. No external force can shatter the will of the state and the people of Azerbaijan.
For 30 years, Armenia, as well as its patrons and allies, tried to use various opportunities and means to prevent us from doing our legitimate work. They wanted to tire us with meaningless negotiations. They wanted us to come to terms with the occupation.
So much effort was made to make us start cooperating with Armenia during the occupation. The people and the state of Azerbaijan overcame all those attempts by showing strong will. Because ours is the cause of justice. During the occupation, I repeatedly said that if the issue is not resolved peacefully, we will liberate our native lands from the invaders through war. Notice how impudent the Armenian leadership became – they wanted to deprive of the Azerbaijani people of their legitimate rights by saying “Karabakh is Armenia, full stop”. Unfortunately, the forces behind Armenia, including the countries that co-chaired the Minsk Group at the time, did not react to this statement in any way. And now, after Azerbaijan has liberated its native land, just look at how many unfair steps are being taken against us and how many shady dealings are being committed. Armenia’s patrons, the countries involved in Armenia's policy of aggression have declared an information war on us. In some countries, they organize certain conferences and symposia related to the internal affairs of Azerbaijan. Some pro-Armenian countries recognize the “independence of Nagorno-Karabakh”, which is not on the world map and does not exist in the territory of Azerbaijan. What does that mean? It means that during the occupation, the only purpose of all those forces was to perpetuate this occupation. They wanted not to resolve the conflict, but to freeze it.
During the Second Karabakh War, so much pressure was put on us and so much assistance was provided to Armenia. Several cargo planes full of weapons were sent to Armenia on a daily basis. Mercenaries from foreign countries were sent there. Armenia’s allies tried to stop us in different ways. But no-one could stand in our way. I said that we would rather die than go back. Either the freedom of Karabakh or death! No-one could stand in our way. They cannot stand in our way today and won’t be able to tomorrow either. If someone thinks that the ugly plans drawn up against us can succeed, they are wrong. Every dirty plan against us will be met with our strong will, our strong policy and our Victorious Army.
Notice what the Armenian leadership, which used to say that “Karabakh is Armenia, full stop”, is saying now. Today, they are asking us to give them the opportunity to live on an area of 29,000 square kilometers. Why didn't they say this during the occupation? During the occupation, why did they attempt to annex all our occupied lands under the name of the “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” and publish books about that? Why didn't international organizations and certain pro-Armenian countries, who turned a blind eye to these ugly and illegal acts, criticize Armenia at that time? How much longer do we have to deal with double standards? How much more hypocrisy do we have to face?
We applied force to restore our territorial integrity in accordance with the UN Charter, liberated the territories of Azerbaijan recognized by the international community, expelled the enemy, crushed the Armenian army, and brought it to its knees. This is our rightful duty. We are building and creating now, including here in the village of Talish, in the settlement of Sugovushan, in Hadrut, in Shusha and all other liberated lands. Armenia devastated and plundered these territories. For 30 years, they dismantled the stones from our buildings one by one and sold them in the markets both in Armenia and in its neighboring country. But we are building and creating.
Notice that less than a year after the reconstruction of the village of Talish began, 20 families have already returned to the Talish village and a total of 180 will return. In less than a year, about 180 families will live in the Talish village. All opportunities have been created here for these families. Everyone can see the beautiful houses, schools, kindergartens and public buildings that have been built here. Employment opportunities have been created. We are a nation of builders. Unlike Armenia, we build and create in our own territory.
Today, Armenia, which used to say that “Karabakh is Armenia, full stop” and threatened us with a new war, is going out of its way to find itself a new patron. They are showing to the world again how treacherous and ungrateful they are. Now they are looking for a new owner. They don’t know whose feet to fall under. All this is to no avail. There is one condition for them to live comfortably on an area of 29,000 square kilometers – Armenia must accept our conditions, officially recognize Karabakh as the territory of Azerbaijan, sign a peace treaty with us and carry out delimitation work according to our conditions. Only under these circumstances can they live comfortably on an area of 29,000 square kilometers, which is all they want now. If Armenia does not recognize our territorial integrity, we will not recognize their territorial integrity either. Armenia and the hypocritical countries behind it should know what the result will be. They should know that no dirty plan against us will work. We have power, we have friends, we have a strong position in the world and we have a strong determination. We demonstrated this during the war and in the post-war period.
The Talish village was liberated on October 3, 2020. A week after the start of the Second Karabakh War, we already liberated the village of Talish by shedding blood. At the same time, we liberated the settlement of Sugovushan.
During the Second Karabakh War, that military operation was of great importance. Because we waged our war of freedom in different directions, including this direction. Therefore, the successes achieved in this direction were of great importance for the future course of the war. At the same time, it also raised the morale of our Army and our people. Because the strategic importance of the Talish village was obvious to everyone.
For 44 days, we were only moving forward and did not take a single step back. We showed the strength and high moral qualities of the Azerbaijani people on the battlefield for 44 days. Not a single person deserted our Army. According to the latest information, there were not 10,000 but 11,000 deserters in the Armenian army. They should not forget this, and if they do, we will remind them. Let no-one forget the results of the Second Karabakh War. Everyone should accept the new realities. No-one should forget that our lands had been under occupation for 30 years, and these important factors for the future peace agreement should not be forgotten. Because we see situations sometimes that as if there was no war, as if there was no occupation, as if no-one turned Aghdam into the “Hiroshima of the Caucasus”. They want to forget it and make us forget it. It will never be the case. The realities of the occupation, the realities of the war and the post-war realities must and will be reflected in the peace negotiations. Otherwise, there will be no peace agreement. If Armenia doesn't need it, we don't need it either. Let's see what the end will be.
We are standing in our native Karabakh today, in our native Zangezur land, and we will live here forever. The people of Azerbaijan rightfully live with a sense of pride. Each of us, including the Azerbaijanis living abroad, has been living with pride for two and a half years. We have proved to everyone, to the whole world that we are a great nation, and as a country that has restored its territorial integrity on its own, we will continue to only move forward. Just as we advanced for 44 days during the Patriotic War, we are advancing and will continue to advance in all fields and directions in the post-war period too.
I want to congratulate my dear people on the occasion of the upcoming Novruz holiday from the bottom of my heart. Let me once again complete my speech with the famous words, “Karabakh is Azerbaijan!”