Speech of Heydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, at the ceremony of the 500th anniversary of the Azerbaijani poet Mahammad Fuzuli in the Turkish Parliament - November 2, 1994

Distinguished speaker of the Parliament Mr. Husametdin Cindoruk!

Distinguished members of the parliament!

Distinguished ministers! Ladies and gentlemen!

We have been guests in your country for two days. For two days together we have been celebrating the 500th anniversary of Mahammad Fuzuli, who demonstrates to the world that we have the same roots.

A lot of speeches were delivered about Mahammad Fuzuli in these two days. He has been living for 500 years. For 500 years the Turkic nations inspired by his ideas have been living and reached this day. Big scientific works were created about Fuzuli both in Turkey and Azerbaijan. Our poets, writers dedicated many works to him. Our composers, painters created great works based on Fuzuli`s works. There is no poet, writer in Azerbaijan, who has not created a work about him. But the more important is that the great composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov created the first classic, professional opera in the Oriental and Turkic world "Leyli and Majnun" based on the poem of the same name by Fuzuli during the period, when most of our population was illiterate.

The Opera Theatre in Baku was founded in 1909. Its founder Uzeyir Hajibeyov also founded the professional music in Azerbaijan with his works. On the basis of it the Azerbaijani music has been developing for one century.

500 years ago Fuzuli emerged as a bright star shining in the sky of the world. He was famous not only in the Orient, Muslim and Turkic world, but in the developed Western countries, the entire world as well. But for us, the Azerbaijani people, Fuzuli has been dearer and reached the peak of his fame especially in the last century. Today with a great pride we can say that the evaluation of Fuzuli by the Azerbaijani people, scientists who benefit from his works, prove how loyal our people are to their roots, customs, history, religion and language.

The Azerbaijani people passed through times of troubles. But our people were always encouraged by their great men and the works created by them. Fuzuli is among them.

Fuzuli was a person uniting the Turkic peoples also in the past. In the 20th century when being separated, living under the regimes not fitting our lifestyle, history and traditions, excluding Turkey, Fuzuli motivated us to reach this day. Today when celebrating Fuzuli`s 500th anniversary in Azerbaijan, his birthplace Kerbela, as well as Ankara, we are not separated as before. Now there are other Turkic states along the Turkish Republic. I want to repeat my dear friend and brother Suleyman Demirel that the banners of the five independent Turkic states accompany the Turkish flag now. One of them is the flag of Azerbaijan. The flag of independence of Azerbaijan rose under the influence of Turkey, inspired by Turkey.

The first democratic state in Azerbaijan was established with the influence and help of Turkey in 1918. Later, though it was separated from Turkey because of the political, ideological factors, our souls always remained together. Fuzuli was read both in Turkey and Azerbaijan. Not only Fuzuli, but other great persons as well did not let us separate. They always united us and helped resist the forces trying to disunite us.

Therefore, celebration of this ceremony together is not merely a grandiose ceremony. It had a great historic, moral, national, and I dare say, political significance. With great pleasure we are finishing the days of Fuzuli in Turkey. Actually, it is not going to finish, as most of the people accompanying us will take part in the conferences, symposiums, the days of Fuzuli will continue.

We visited Turkey with a big delegation; I suppose that a bigger delegation from Turkey will visit Azerbaijan. As Azerbaijan with seven million population is represented with such a big delegation, then more people from Turkey will attend Fuzuli`s anniversary in Baku.

Now we live a very hard period. You, the distinguished and valuable persons of Turkey, are in our souls. You are always welcome to all celebrations. I believe that you will accept our invitation. The days of Fuzuli will continue and finish in Azerbaijan and help open new opportunities for our future.

The evaluation of Fuzuli`s heritage, and hospitality shown to the Azerbaijani delegation during the two days gladden us and make us grateful. But we consider it natural, because we are brothers and friends. We are one nation and too close to each other. At the same time, we appreciate it as an attention of Turkey to Azerbaijan. In general, Fuzuli`s anniversary is not only an honour done to Fuzuli and his heritage, but is a great even to unite our peoples. I congratulate our Turkish brothers on this occasion. I thank you for your hospitality and the appreciation of Fuzuli`s heritage in Turkey.

The event was organized thanks to the attention of the Turkish state. The participation of the Turkish president Suleyman Demirel in the ceremony, his speech about Fuzuli are great events for Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as for the Turkic world.

The organization of a great ceremony dedicated to Fuzuli in the Turkish parliament shows the attention and respect of the Turkish parliament, its chairman, Mr. Husametdin Cindoruk to the friendship between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

During my official visit to Turkey in February, I had an opportunity to speak at the Turkish parliament. I emotionally spoke to the Turkish members of parliament. Today I told Mr. Husametdin Cindoruk about my feelings then. In my childhood and youth I had a great respect and love to Turkey. Then I used to learn Turkish, having taken books in Turkish. I used to have a teacher who taught me it for a couple of years. I learnt the Turkish history, the Turkish poets. "Chalikushu" by Rashad Nuri Guntekin was a novel all we admired. Recently, a film based on the novel was shot. That film earned fame not only in the Turkic countries, but in Russia as well. But I read it at the age of 14-15. I loved it.

We used to learn other Turkish writers and poets as well. Abdulhag Hamid, Tofik Fikret and others were included in our literature textbooks then. I still remember the pictures of the Turkish poets in those books. Naturally, I was learning about Turkey with a great interest in my youth. From newspapers and other sources I learnt about the Turkish parliament and thought how great it is.

Later I got an opportunity to deliver a speech in front of the members of the Turkish parliament. It is an honor. I shall never forget it. That day I expressed my cordial words to my Turkish brothers emotionally.

Today we are in the Turkish parliament again. Husametdin bey told me that over 80 MPs are here, together with us. We are celebrating Fuzuli`s anniversary and trying to strengthen the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship. It is a reality of today. Thanks to God, we reached these days. A lot of people in Azerbaijan, who wanted to see the friendship between our countries, dreamed of these days, but couldn’t survive till these days.

I had the same feelings when we established the bridges between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Then I resided in Nakhichevan. I was born and grew up there, then left for Moscow. Later I was back to my birthplace. It was a good period of my life. Because I took part in the construction of the bridge between Turkey and Azerbaijan desired for centuries and inaugurated the bridge of hope together with Suleyman Demirel, Turkish ministers and members of the parliament.

I want to say that there were many people in Azerbaijan who dreamed of these days, but couldn’t survive. But we are lucky to see these days. We witness the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship and work for its development. Today we are celebrating our friendship and Fuzuli`s anniversary in the Turkish parliament together with the MPs.

I congratulate you on these celebrations. My Turkish brothers, friends, I want to assure you that the Azerbaijani people will always try to strengthen this friendship; this friendship will be sustainable, eternal. The next generations will benefit from this friendship. I congratulate you again. I wish you health and happiness. Thank you.

The newspaper "Azerbaycan", November 4, 1994

Historical backgrounds