1. Multilingual Youth
"I would encourage
our youth to learn as many foreign languages as possible. But
prior to that ambitious goal, they all should know their own
language - Azeri. They should feel it as a mother language and
be able to think in it. I wish for the day when our youth can
read Shakespeare in English, Pushkin in Russian, and our own
Azerbaijani poets - Nizami, Fuzuli and Nasimi - in Azerbaijani."
Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan's
President, in a televised
forum on "Youth" in Baku on February 2, 1996.
From Azerbaijan International (4.4) Winter 1996.
2. Democracy -
Not An Apple
"Some people think
we should be able to establish democracy in a short time, but
that's impossible. Azerbaijan is a young nation and democracy
is a new concept. The U.S. has been advancing on the path of
democracy for a long time - more than 200 years. You've achieved
a lot, but you're still working on it. Democracy is not an apple
you buy at the market and bring back home."
Heydar Aliyev, President
of Azerbaijan, on his
first official visit to the United States, speaking at an Open
Forum sponsored by the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC)
at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. on July 30, 1997.
From Azerbaijan International (5.3) Autumn 1997.
3. Azerbaijan Opts
"The decision of
the Azerbaijani government and of the Azerbaijani president is
known. There are many ways to transport the main oil to the international
market. But for Azerbaijan - the only, only one - the most beneficial
and the most reliable is via Baku-Georgia-Turkey to Jeyhan [a
Mediterranean port of Turkey]."
Heydar Aliyev, President
of Azerbaijan, on the
occasion of his 75th birthday [May 10, 1998] when 19 state delegations
including Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia and Suleyman Demirel
of Turkey came to Baku for a private commemoration. Alternative
routes for main oil under consideration by AIOC [Azerbaijan International
Operating Company] include north through Russia and south through
From Azerbaijan International (6.2) Summer 1998.
4. Khojali Massacre
years have passed since the Khojali tragedy. On that dreadful
night [February 26, 1992], Armenian military units supported
by Russia's 366th infantry regiment, razed the Azerbaijani town
of Khojali and massacred its peaceful, innocent residents including
a considerable number of the elderly, women and children. In
reality, the Khojali tragedy is one of the greatest human atrocities
of the 20th century. Every effort must be made to seek the world
community's unbiased and resolute position regarding this genocide.
On this day of National Mourning, I bow before the sacred spirit
of these innocent victims and express my deepest condolences
to their families and relatives and to our nation. May God rest
Heydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, addressing the
nation on the Seventh Anniversary of the Khojali Massacre (1999).
Khojali was the first town to fall in Karabakh in the undeclared
war with Armenia. Azerbaijan is appealing to the War Crimes Tribunal
at the Hague to recognize the atrocities carried out in Khojali
as war crimes against humanity.
From Azerbaijan International (7.1) Spring 1999.
5. Peace, not Military
not plan to use the difficult situation in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh
to achieve its own military objectives. This, despite the fact
that in 1991-1993 Armenia took advantage of the internal tensions
within Azerbaijan to occupy our lands. We support peace. We don't
consider a military solution acceptable."
Heydar Aliyev, President
of Azerbaijan, commenting
about the latest in a series of terrorist acts by Armenians against
their own leadership, when on March 22nd an assassination attempt
was made against the top leader of the Armenian community of
Nagorno-Karabakh. This region within Azerbaijan has been occupied
by Armenian military forces since 1992 and has resulted in the
displacement of nearly 1 million Azerbaijanis.
Six months ago on October 27, 1999, Armenian terrorists also
attacked the Parliament in Yerevan, Armenia and killed seven
of their own government leaders, including the Prime Minister
and the Speaker of the Parliament. Investigation into these Parliament
murders seems to be pointing to high-level Armenian government
From Azerbaijan International (8.1) Spring 2000.
6. Patience Has
"We want peace
between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We want peace in the Caucasus
region. We want peace in Southern Caucasus. And, therefore, we
are putting up with this difficult situation. But patience has
its limits. You should know, the entire OSCE should know, the
Minsk Group should know and the United Nations should know that
an end must be put to this injustice against Azerbaijan."
President Heydar Aliyev addressing the visiting OSCE delegation
headed by the chair, Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner,
on July 18, 2000 in Baku.
From Azerbaijan International (8.3) Autumn 2000.
7. Lexicon of Terrorism
well known, toward the end of the 20th century a new expression,
"the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," entered the lexicon
of world politics as a result of aggression by Armenian separatists.
Today the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan
is acknowledged as the second-longest running world conflict,
after that of Israel and Palestine.
The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, in fact,
was the beginning of a new stage in Armenia's open territorial
claims and aggressive actions against Azerbaijan, which had been
perpetrated for many years.
The bitter experience of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict reflects
the indecisiveness of mediators, their unprincipled stand and
their attempts to strike a balance between the aggressor and
the side subjected to aggression. This not only panders to the
aggressor, but also poses a threat to the security and stability
of the entire Caucasus region.
Azerbaijanis are a peace-loving people. Representatives of all
peoples, regardless of their nationality, race, language or religion,
have always lived in an open, kind and friendly way in Azerbaijan.
Our history is rich with examples of enormous tolerance. The
Azerbaijani people have shown great patience in regard to the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and they have devoted tremendous efforts
to establish a stable and just peace in the region.
Today, there is no war in Azerbaijan, nor is there a permanent
peace. We live in a state of "neither war, nor peace,"
which means that our territories are still occupied and our refugees
are still under enormous pressure and suffer tremendously, especially
elderly people, women and children. This situation deeply saddens
Since September 11th, when terrible acts of terrorism were committed
against the United States, a new political consciousness has
emerged that provides a new perspective for viewing world events.
This creates, as well as necessitates, additional possibilities
for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and
We hope that international organizations that have been commissioned
to restore peace and security in the world will support us and
will use their full potential to solve this troubled spot in
the Caucasus. We trust they will resolve this conflict on the
basis of mutual compromise and within universally accepted norms
of international law.
We challenge Azerbaijanis to call upon the entire world community
and all peace-loving people to support Azerbaijan's fair cause
and to make continuous efforts to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani
conflict peacefully within the framework of international laws
and the principles of justice.
Heydar Aliyev addressing
the World Forum of Azerbaijanis in Baku on November 9, 2001.
From Azerbaijan International (9.4) Winter 2001.
Policy - The Right Way
"You can't be friends
with some countries and enemies with others, despite the fact
that this is the way most countries function. You have to take
into consideration the special interests of each country. Azerbaijan
doesn't want to be enemies with any country. At the same time,
we will not become victim to another country's policies. We have
our own independent policy. As well, we are developing good relations
with Europe and America and seek to benefit from their experiences,
while preserving our own national identity and our own resources.
Future leaders must pursue the policy that I have put in place.
If they do, then they will succeed. If not, then Azerbaijan will
face enormous tragedy."
Heydar Aliyev (May 10, 1923-December
12, 2003) who served as President of Azerbaijan (1993-2003) in an interview with Azerbaijan International's
editor, Betty Blair, in 1999 when asked what advice he would
give to future leaders of Azerbaijan in the 21st century in regard
to foreign policy, given that Azerbaijan was a small country
surrounded by Russia, Iran, Armenia, Turkey and Georgia?
© Azerbaijan International 2004.