Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony of awarding the title of "Man of the Year in the World" for 1997 by "Nargis TV" channel of Turkey - Istanbul, the hall of the International Conference and Exhibition after Lutfi Kirdar, February 13, 1998

President of the Republic of Turkey, my dear friend and brother, Suleyman Demirel,

Chairman of the parliament of Turkey, Mr. Hikmet Cetin,

Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Mesut Yilmaz,

Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Azerbaijani people I warmly greet all of you, the great Turkish nation and all the citizens of the Turkish Republic. I wish you happiness, peace, security and prosperity.

Today I arrived home, which is familiar to me, to every Azerbaijani, and I am in the beautiful city of Turkey and one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Istanbul. I am very happy. Particularly, I greet the citizens of Istanbul. I wish this beautiful city future prosperity.

I congratulate the Turkish citizens working in "Nargis-TV", our brothers and sisters on the first anniversary of the channel and I wish them great success in future. Achieving such a huge success within a year is possible only and only in a free, independent and democratic country. In Azerbaijan we are very pleased that the Turkish Republic, which is a friendly and brotherly country for us, is just such a country. We are pleased that the Turkish people and the Turkish government make progress on the path of their great leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Within a short time the television in Turkey achieved great successes.

Perhaps you do not know, I want to tell you that television in Azerbaijan, Baku, began to broadcast before Turkey. The Azerbaijani TV began to function in 1956. In Turkey, if I am not mistaking, at the beginning of 1960. Television in Turkey has developed during this period, launched many programs and increased the number of private television channels. In Azerbaijan, there is a state-run television and only three private TV channels. They take their first steps. What is the reason? Because Turkey became a free, independent and democratic country. Turkey as one of the largest countries in the world, as a secular and worthy state, within the short term used its internal resources and could rise to such heights.

In Azerbaijan, there are a lot of talented people that can create a TV. But we have not yet achieved such a success. Because we did not have the independence and freedom. It is only six years that we live independently in an independent country and you can be sure that within a short time we can find what we lost in the past, will move forward and achieve your ranks just like you did. Now we do it much easier, since we have such an example as you, your country, your political system and Turkish television. By building our own independent country and life, developing our economy we constantly use the world experience. Besides the world experience, we use the experience of the closest native to us, the Turkish Republic in all areas, including the field of television.

You should know that in Azerbaijan the Turkish channels broadcast more than the Azerbaijani ones and Azerbaijani citizens watch Turkish channels besides with the Azerbaijani channels, which is very useful for us.

I congratulate my dear friend and brother Javid Chaglar, who made a great contribution to the establishment and development of NTV channel and I wish him success in his future work.

On this occasion, today I reiterate that the friendly and fraternal relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey strengthen day by day, they will expand and develop in future, too. There are forces that want to interfere in our friendship and brotherhood. They are in and out of our country. Today I declare that all the forces that impede our friendship must know that no power and no country can interfere in the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship. Our unwavering friendship is eternal and will last forever! In the protection and preservation of the independence of Azerbaijan, its economy, protection of the rights of Azerbaijan on a global scale in the world, in the peaceful settlement of the conflict in connection with the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia and in the protection of position of Azerbaijan in international organizations we rely on the Republic of Turkey all the time. We appreciate the contribution of the Turkish Republic, its government and in particular, the President of the Republic of Turkey, great friend and brother of the people of Azerbaijan, Suleyman Demirel.

Today and tomorrow I am going to hold a number of meetings and negotiations here. I want to state that all the meetings and negotiations are held in a friendly and sincere atmosphere. As before, from the time of my arrival in the Turkish land I feel a friendly and sincere atmosphere. I express my gratitude to all of you for it. My special thanks, respect and tribute are for my dear friend and brother, President Suleyman Demirel. It’s a great honor for me that NTV channel of Turkey declared me ” the Man of the Year ” for 1997 and I declare  that it was unexpected for me. I did not know that NTV channel holds the survey  and my name also was included into the list. When I got this information I was surprised and  it made me happy at the same time. I express my gratitude for the respect, care, attention and  confidence of the Turkish people and the audience of NTV channel. The audience of the TV, 59400 persons, who live in an absolutely free and independent conditions displayed their will and chose me “the Man of the Year in the World”. This is an extraordinary event in my life.  I have got  many awards in my life, but I never had the one like  this.

I express my gratitude, love and respect to each  citizen of the Turkish Republic who have voted for me. I wish each citizen of the country happiness, good fortune  and successes! You can believe that I highly appreciate this event and declare it as a great care and support to my political activity. I want to assure you that I shall justify this confidence with my life, activity and future work. I shall justify the confidence with works, which will be carried out in Azerbaijan and works that will be carried out in the field of strengthening the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship. You can be sure that I always shall be faithful and true to the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship and brotherhood.

Dear friends, sisters and brothers, I express to you, the audience in the hall my respect and love. I wish you health and happiness. You may be sure that this award will always be in my heart and I shall always appreciate it. Thank you.