Speech of President Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony dedicated to the first graduation from the Higher Military School of Azerbaijan - August 26, 2001

Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Huseyin Kivrikoglu!

Distinguished officers, friends from the Turkish Republic!

Distinguished staff of the Higher Military School of Azerbaijan!

Distinguished graduates and students of the Higher Military School of Azerbaijan!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Today we are witnessing a historical event in Azerbaijan, which is the graduation ceremony of the Higher Military School of Azerbaijan. The armed forces of Azerbaijan are receiving a big corps of young officers. This is one of the works done for strengthening Azerbaijan in the recent ten years.

Building an army is not easy. Every independent nation creates its institutes. So did Azerbaijan in the recent years. As an independent, legal and democratic state Azerbaijan has established its governmental bodies, which are implementing their tasks for strengthening Azerbaijan.

If we take into consideration that when Azerbaijan declared its independence 10 years ago, it was in war, tried to resist the Armenian aggression without any organized military forces, now we can see how great is our achievements in building an army we the recent years.

Unfortunately, Azerbaijan did not have its own independent army in the past. When Azerbaijan gained its independence it lacked military potentials. Therefore, a lot of efforts were needed to create an independent army. We can be proud that we are achieving our goals in this field.

Establishing a high school in Azerbaijan was a hard job, even though we had officers trained in the military schools of the Soviet Union. The military school after Nakhichevansky was established in the 1970s. So there was a ground for training military officers. But we needed to have a higher school for the national armed forces, too. We started implementing this job into life. Now we see its results.

The cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan forms the basis of our achievements in this field. Because the education of our officers in the past is not enough for the present, independent Azerbaijan. We needed to establish a new higher military school with normal conditions and skilled staff of trainers. The armed forces of Turkey assisted Azerbaijan in the realization of all these tasks. Thanks to our joint efforts, we have a high military school now, which is celebrating its first graduation. After a four year training hundreds of young officers will serve in the armed forces of Azerbaijan. It will help to increase the quality of the staff of our army. Because the graduates of the Military School have been educated on the basis of the experience of the Turkish armed forces. Higher-rank Turkish officers have trained the graduates very well, contributing to the development of our armed forces.

I am very pleased that General Huseyin Kivrikoglu, Chief of General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces is present here at this historical ceremony. His visit to Azerbaijan, presence at this ceremony, and speech to our officers and soldiers are very important. Cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan in all the spheres is yielding positive results. The graduation ceremony of the military school is a proof of our successful cooperation in the military field. Therefore, I thank President of Turkey Mr. Ahmet Nejdat Sezer, Prime Minister of Turkey Mr. Bulent Ecevit, Chief of General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces Gen. Huseyin Kivrikoglu on behalf of Azerbaijan.

The demonstrative flights of the Turkish stars in the sky of Baku for the second day adorned our ceremony more. Two days we have been witnessing the might, professionalism and skill of the Turkish armed forces are. I thank the Turkish stars on behalf of our people and award the pilots with my personal presents.

Dear young officers!

You are lucky. You have been educated at the Military School for four years. Now you are ready to serve in the army of Azerbaijan. You have a lot of tasks. You have to use your education and experience in the military units where you are going to serve. You have to prove that you are able to develop our armed forces and military science with your education. You must also be an example for others in your military units. Because you are the first graduates of the national military school of Azerbaijan. It is an honorary title which you must always bear. As you decided to become an officer, serve in our army, defend Azerbaijan, you must love your profession. You have to prove it with your deeds. I hope that you will.

Our soldiers must serve their people, their land with devotion. Every year our youth is mobilized for serving in the army of Azerbaijan. But they leave the army after serving a year or a year and a half. You have to train our soldiers and make them real warriors. Thus, you can increase the military potential of Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani soldiers should try to look like the Turkish soldiers. The Turkish soldiers have always demonstrated heroism in resisting the provocations against Turkey and helping Turkey develop even in hard conditions. With their traditions the armed forces of Turkey are among the strongest in the world.

The best feature of the Turkish soldiers is their devotion to their country. It is the duty of every soldier. The Turkish soldiers have been developing their army since the declaration of the Republic of Turkey. You must also serve and defend Azerbaijan, be ready for all kinds of difficulties.

The Armenian armed forces have occupied a part of our territories, violated the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Over one million Azerbaijani citizens driven out from the occupied territories have become refugees and are living in hard conditions now. The primary task of our state is to restore its territorial integrity, return the refugees home and ensure good living conditions for them.

We try to solve the problem peacefully. The modern world order shows that such conflicts must be solved peacefully, no matter how hard they are. At the same time, our soldiers must know that the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be restored by all possible means. It is the task of our state, but it can be implemented by our army. You must be ready to fulfill your duties every moment.

Azerbaijan is a peaceful country. The recent ten years since our independence have been very hard. Both internal and external forces attempted to violate our independence. But our people could stand them. Soon we shall celebrate the tenth anniversary of our independence. The top priority of our foreign policy is peace and mutual effective cooperation with other countries. We don’t want to wage a war against any country. We don’t claim to the territories of any one.

Despite our peaceful policy, we must have a strong army, too. With such an army we can peace. Therefore, our people need our armed forces. The soldiers and officers in our army must understand that they must live and serve according to the requirements of our army. Otherwise, they must leave this service. The Azerbaijani soldiers and officers must have a high morals and be patriotic.

The Azerbaijani people gave many martyrs in the war against the Armenian aggression. We always remember them. At the same time, the heroism of our martyrs must be an example for every Azerbaijani soldier. I think that our army is strong, though there is still a lot to do. The staff of our army, including generals, officers must be strict and demonstrate patriotism and heroism, on the basis of such principles train our soldiers.

I am sure that you, the young officers, will serve the Azerbaijani people devotedly. Azerbaijan also appreciates the deeds of every soldier. We shall do our best in order to improve the conditions in our armed forces and at the Higher Military School. But you have to use those conditions effectively.

Dear friends! Dear guests!

I think that this ceremony also proves the friendship and strategic partnership between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Now a lot of people are present here, including our guests from Turkey, the Turkish trainers of the Higher Military School, the generals of the armed forces of Turkey and Azerbaijan, representatives of the governmental bodies, parents of the graduates. This ceremony has become a celebration. At the same time, it has become a tradition which we should continue. Therefore, everyone must contribute to strengthening the relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

I congratulate the graduates of the Higher Military School and wish them the best. I wish the whole army of Azerbaijan the best!

Long live brave Azerbaijani soldiers!

Long live brave Turkish soldiers!

Long live the Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherhood!