Speech of the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev in connection with the fifth anniversary of the tragedy on January 20 - Martyrs` Avenue, January 20, 1995

Dear sisters and brothers! Dear citizens! Families and relatives of the martyrs!

Today we are commemorating the fifth anniversary of the events of January 20 the highest peak of the liberation movement of the Azerbaijani people. We are celebrating the day of heroism of our martyrs, who perished for the independence of Azerbaijan. In all the cities of Azerbaijan our people commemorate that tragedy and pray for our martyrs. We are proud of our martyrs.

Dear sisters, you are not alone. Your sorrow is ours, as well. It is the sorrow of the entire nation.

…Thousands of people have assembled here with the same purpose. Today we are commemorating a historic event. We are in front of the graves of our martyrs. Can we speak of other issues here today?

I don`t blame you. Everyone has a sorrow. The families of the martyrs have a lot of problems. We all have been mourning for five years. The blood of the martyrs secured the independence of Azerbaijan. Now you all are citizens of an independent state. Our freedom is our greatest achievement and victory, for which we gave a lot of victims. We shall further. Everyone must be ready to sacrifice himself for our independence. Thus, I understand your sorrow. But let`s celebrate this historical event.

It is a page of heroism and tragedy for the Azerbaijani people. On January 20 the patriots of Azerbaijan protested against the unfair policy, against the Armenian aggression and demanded freedom. It was a national movement. In order to supress it, the Soviet troops intervened our country. Then our people gave great losses. Baku was full of blood. However, our martyrs helped Azerbaijan gain independence. Our martyrs were buried here, in one of the most beautiful spots of Baku.

We shall always visit the graves of our martyrs. They have become a holy place of our people. The Martyrs` Avenue is the graveyard of our martyrs perished for our independence it is one of the holy places in Azerbaijan.

Now we are in front of the graves of the brave sons and daughters of the Azerbaijani people. Thanks to their heroism our people achieved independence.

An independent country, Azerbaijan tries to maintain its territorial integrity and strengthen its independence. After January 20 Azerbaijan had many victims for the defense of its territories, too. Therefore, our martyrs who have perished while protecting Azerbaijan from the Armenian aggression are buried here together with the martyrs of the 20 January events. They all have perished for the happy future of Azerbaijan. In front of the graves of our martyrs I express my condolence to the entire Azerbaijani nation, particularly the families of the martyrs.

We shall never forget them. At the same time, the heroism of our martyrs may be an example for the Azerbaijani people, especially for the youth. I am confident that the present generation, as well as the future generations in Azerbaijan will always learn from their heroism and struggle for the protection of our independence. Therefore, the loss of our martyrs is not only a grief for us, but an example of heroism and national pride, as well. Today we have the feelings of grief and pride. We are proud that our people is heroic. We are proud that the Azerbaijani people is ready to sacrifice for the national independence. We are proud of our heroes and martyrs. Their memory is dear and eternal for us. I express my condolence, and I congratulate you because the Azerbaijani people are able to defend itself.

As I said, the Azerbaijani people is able to defend its identity and independence. I convey you my condolence. May our martyrs rest in peace. I pray God to give you more patience in order to reach a happy future and strengthen our independence. May our martyrs rest in peace.