Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at Bilkent University of Turkey – Ankara, May 6, 1997

My dear friend and brother Mr. Ihsan Dogramaji!

I am glad to be the guest of honorable Mr. Ihsan Dogramaji at Bilkent again and thank for this hospitality.

Ihsan Dogramaji is a great, unique personality, a prominent son of the Turkic world. We are also proud that he is a world-renowned person, who demonstrates intelligence of the Turkish people to the entire world. Therefore, every meeting with him is a great pleasure to me.

At the same time, Dogramaji makes great contributions to the Turkish-Azerbaijani fraternal relations. It is not his task, but something coming from his heart. He was born for devoting his life to development of his country, his people. I state once more that my friend Dogramaji`s contributions to the development of the Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are enormous. He continues his activities for his love towards Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the Turkic world.

My dear friend, I thank you for your contributions to science and culture of the Turkic peoples. The Azerbaijanis are also grateful as you have assembled prominent scholars, composers, musicians, artists of Azerbaijan here at Bilkent and help them develop under your paternal care. At the same time, their cooperation helped improve Bilkent`s reputation. That's why, I am delighted to see the Azerbaijani scientists, artists around you when I come here. They have gathered around you as you love them and they love you. This kind of relations are based on love and nothing else.

My dear friend, the Turkish-Azerbaijan Foundation established by you is a remarkable event in the relations between our countries. Your work is historic and valuable. I hope that This Foundation will enhance its activities day by day and contribute to a more rapid development of the Turkish-Azerbaijani relations.

It is my honor to be elected chairman of the Foundation along with the Turkish president Suleyman Demirel – it is your great trust in me. I have been elected to high offices throughout my lifetime. It has not been unusual for me. However, I highly appreciate my election along with my dear friend Suleyman Demirel as presidents of the Foundation.

Your pediatric works are also valuable and known worldwide. You are a member of a number of health, pediatrics organizations and are involved in their activities. You have also done a great job to assemble the scientists and specialists working in the field of pediatrics from the Turkic states. I appreciate your idea on the organization of a relevant meeting in Azerbaijan this September. I assure you that the meeting to be held in Azerbaijan will be at a higher level.

Your care for the Turkmens is quite natural as they are your compatriots, our compatriots. It also displays what a great personality you are. I was delighted to hear two young men sing songs here: Turkmen and European classics.

I am also happy that you have opened schools in the Turkmen lands and drawn children to education in their own language. I realize its importance as the Azerbaijani people did not have schools in their own language in the early 20th century. But schools were opened, and now the Azerbaijani people are fully literate. However, I regret to say that tens of millions of Azerbaijanis in other countries still lack education in their own language. Let`s hope that they, too, will open their schools, get education, read books in their native language.

There is no difference between the Turkmen and Azerbaijani. In the early 1970s, I met the Turkmens in Baku many times. They have a famous poet writer and poet – Benderoglu. Do you know him? I met him several times when he visited Baku. He was from Iraq, but spoke the same language with us. I asked about his origin, and he said that he was a Turkman. There is no difference in our languages. Therefore, you and I sing our folk songs with a great pleasure.

Thank you very much. I wish you, your wife and son all the best. 

«Heydar Aliyev: Our independence is eternal» (speeches, statements, interviews, letters, addresses, decrees) – Azerneshr, Baku-2000, vol. 9, p. 305 (in Azerbaijani)