The speech of The President of the Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev in the ceremony of awarding Honorary Doctor of the University "9 July"to the President of Azerbaijan - Izmir, May 7, 1997

Honorable mister rector!

Distinguished ladies and gentleman!

Dear friends, students!

I have best regards to all of you from your friend, brother Azerbaijan. I express my respect and esteem to all universities, professors, scientists, teachers, students of the Turkey Republic in your personality, wish you good fortune, happiness and every success in your activities.

I greet heartily the residents and citizens of Izmir, which is big and very beautiful city of Turkey. Izmir and the capital of Azerbaijan-Baku are twin cities. I greet all residents of Izmir on behalf of both residents of Baku and Azerbaijan citizens.

This is the third day I have been in official visit in the Turkey Republic for the invitation of my dear friend, brother, the President of the Turkey Republic Suleyman Demirel. During these three days I and Azerbaijani delegation that have come with me to your country have lived in hospitability and affection of our Turk brothers, Turkish people, Turkish state and government. This is the great happiness for us. These are memorable days for us. This shows the importance, affection, value of the relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey both for Azerbaijan and Turkic nations once again.

We have had variety of meetings during our visit to Ankara and have done valuable work in growth and development of Azerbaijan-Turkey relations, have signed very significant contracts between states and governments. Among these contracts there is one about extending strategic cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan is more rewarding. This contract was signed by the presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey. The relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey are increased to a new qualitative level with this contract and it gives opportunities to a new step of development of these relations more rapidly, as well as extensively and thoroughly.

I am extremely pleased with negotiation and meetings, signed documents in Turkey during these days and I consider that all these efforts will work for strengthening Turkey-Azerbaijan friendship and brotherhood relations.

I signify my consent and gratitude to the Turkey Republic, its distinguished president, all Turkish nation for this respect, affection and concern, hospitability to the delegation from Azerbaijan and me personally.

It is precious for me to pay a visit to Izmir during my visit to Turkey. I was in Izmir in 1992 for the first time, then I came to your country with the invitation of the deceased President of Turkey Turgut Ozal and the Prime Minister, honorable Suleyman Demirel, participated in the Third International Economic Congress held in Izmir. I was given the opportunity to have a speech and appeal to the congress. This was the significant and beloved event in my life and biography. I remember those days all the time. I felt how beautiful, pretty and tender Izmir is. I always remember it.

I am very pleased to come to Izmir again. Meeting you is especially beloved and valuable.

Dear friends, you expressed great respect and esteem to me. You also expresses great confidence to me- awarded me with the Honorary Doctor the University. I got acquainted with your decisions about it and principles of your decision about awarding me with carefully and with a sense of satisfaction. I express my gratitude sincerely to you for this care, approving my activities so highly, especially for the activities as the President of the Azerbaijan Republic. Thank you. The University of "9 July"is young, but within these 15 years it has developed rapidly, expanded, has become, as it was stated here, the 4th university of Turkey. This is a very interesting indicator. I mean, you are 15 and have managed to leave a number of venerable, old universities behind within these years and reach the 4th place, this is a great heroism.

I know well that organizing education, estimating accomplishments of high education are approached very seriously in Turkey, great requirements are set, to acquire such accomplishments and get such marks are not easy. Apparently it has been realized with the help of a joint effort, work and toil of the teachers, professors, doctors and scientists of high level. Dear friends, therefore, I congratulate you on the accomplishments you have achieved, wish your university every success in all your future activities and I desire your university to increase the level from the 4th to the top, leave other universities behind.

Competition always favors rapid development for people, educational institutions and universities. I suppose, your accomplishment will concern other venerable universities of Turkey a little, they will also try to manage their work better. Thus, you will help them and advance, too. I want the education of brother Turkey to be improved; Turkish universities be developed more rapidly and be on the rank of remarkable universities of the world.

 I assume, one of the reasons of achievements of your university is that it has the name "9 July", July 9 is a very important date in the history of The Republic of Turkey, there was a very tense situation in Turkey after the disintegration of Ottoman empery; the foreign enemies of Turkey purposed to destroy, crush and regain Turkey. There were a number of military aggressions to Turkey, the heroism, bravery of Turkish people rescued Turkey from great threats, disasters during those years. The event of Izmir July 9, the victory of July 9 has a prominent place in the history of the country in the fight of salvation of Turkey. It is evident that, Mustafa Kamal, the great son of Turkish people was the founder of the victory, builder and commander of salvation fight.

Plans have set and military operations were held to banish foreign enemies from the country in Izmir under Mustafa Kamal’s leadership. The enemies of Turkey were thrown to the sea, Izmir was liberated, Mustafa Kamal guided all these military operations and this victory.

All above mentioned are beautiful pages of the history of the Republic of Turkey. When establishing your university you named it July 9, it shows how affectionate and precious is this date for you, at the same time, it indicates how faithful you are to Mustafa Kamal Ataturk’s ideas who was the founder of the Republic of Turkey, from the days of its foundation, and the way set by him. Your university will achieve new accomplishments in this way in the future. You university is also my native university now. Because I enter the life of your university as its Honorary Doctor and it becomes native work for me. It means, your and our university will achieve new accomplishments hereafter. I am sure of it.

 Distinguished friends, we have stepped a serious way in developing friendly and brotherhood ties between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Today I want to state once more that Turkey-Azerbaijan ties gain strength and develop day by day, and will develop more rapidly hereafter. Our friendship will grow and develop day by day, because we have the same historical roots, national unity, language, religion, customs and traditions, moral values. We concern this friendship as important and you can be sure that we will try to make these ties develop more.

As an independent country Azerbaijan is a young. It lives the 6th year of its independence. Today I have felt you are aware of the processes and activities happening in Azerbaijan form the resolution you have adopted, and you know that we have been trying to strengthen independence, secure sovereignty of Azerbaijan, release Azerbaijan from Armenian occupation constantly within these 6 years. During these 6 years our activities have been tense and hard. As you know, there was a military aggression to Azerbaijan by Armenia, as related with aids of certain countries to Armenia constantly and other reasons, it was expanded, in the end, 20% of Azerbaijani lands were occupied by Armenian armed forces. More than one million people were driven out of their native lands, became refugees, they live in hard conditions, majority of them have been living in tends for 4-5 years.

We stopped battle between Azerbaijan and Armenia 4 years ago, entered into an agreement about ceasefire. There has been no fight during the last 3 years, we live in the conditions of ceasefire, but there is no real peace either. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan has been disordered, the state board line of Azerbaijan has been disturbed, and I state once more, 20% of the territory o Azerbaijan is under the occupation of Armenian armed forces. We have been trying for 3 years, are trying and will try to solve this problem in a peaceful way. The document adopted at the end of the year in OSCE summit opens better opportunities for the solution of this problem.

The presidents of 53 states of OSCE adopted principles of solving Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict in a peaceful way in OSCE summit. We have adopted the principles of recognition the territorial integrities of Azerbaijan and Armenia, formalizing autonomy status to Nagorni Garabagh within the Azerbaijan Republic, guarantee to the security of all population of Nagorni Garabagh, both Armenian and Azerbaijani population, but Armenia doesn’t adopt these principles. Now the objective, especially the duties of the members and co-chairmen of OSCE Minsk Group, representatives of Russia, USA and France is to fasten and gain peace according to these principles.

As a member of OSCE and member of the Minsk Group founded by OSCE Turkey has had close relations with Azerbaijan since the beginning of military aggression to Azerbaijan, is beside Azerbaijan, is cooperating with us, and the Republic of Turkey and its president Mr. Suleyman Demirel had a great role in adopting that historical document in Lisbon. We hope Turkey will not grudge its efforts to solve Azerbaijan Armenia problem, this Armenian occupation, which is a great grief for both Azerbaijan and Turkey, to end Armenian aggression thereafter. I hope, we all together, with our mutual efforts, will solve this problem peacefully at the end.

But at the same time, you should know that Armenia creates a great threat not only for Azerbaijan, but for the Caucasus, as well as for Turkey. You are aware of the fact, it has been discovered that Russia has given weapons to Armenia recently, which costs totally one billion dollars recently. As for us, we have been living in the regime of ceasefire for three years; on the other hand, Russia has given weapons with the cost of one billion dollars to Armenia. It is without doubt that everybody should be concerned about one small country which occupied 20% of lands of Azerbaijan, a country that lives in the neighborhood to Turkey, having been given such powerful weapons. It should concern Turkey, its public thought and opinion. Today I draw your attention to this problem particularly, and you should know that this is not just directed to Azerbaijan, this is an action directed to all states in this region.

In spite of all these difficulties, Azerbaijan tries to strengthen its independence with every passing year. But we had a number of difficulties concerning this in the interior of our country. You are aware that Azerbaijani interior situation was not constant after it had gained state independence, there was no tranquility. Our greatest accomplishment is that we have stabilized public and political situation within last two-three years, created tranquility. Now there exists calmness in Azerbaijan.

We have founded legal democratic, mundane state in Azerbaijan. This is our strategy. We are stepping in this strategic way. As you know Azerbaijan was deprived of its self-independence for long years.

Now we have become independent, we are the owners of our fates; we are founding independent and democratic state. We want our state to be totally democratic, legal, mundane state. Thus establishing and developing democracy, ensuring the rule of law are our major objective; we are tying to accomplish these objectives.

We have faced a great resistance, difficulties in carrying out this tack, this policy. Although we prevented to achieve them, we could manage to realize them. Dear friends, brothers, I can say that now public and political state is totally invariable in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani nation set their own life. The sate independence of Azerbaijan is persistent, invincible and inviolable. We will hallow state independence of Azerbaijan, improve it. Be sure that Azerbaijan will gain peculiar and decent place in the world.

Azerbaijan is in a deep economic crisis related with the problems that I stated above. It goes without saying that this crisis has affected people’s welfare badly, social situation has become difficult. But, at the same time, we have made serious changes in economy, we realize economic reforms, lead our economy in the way of market economy, develop enterpreneurship. We have adopted the law about "Land Reform"and give all lands to personal property according to this law. Thus, Azerbaijan economy leads the way of developed countries, states, as well as the Republic of Turkey. We have attained a number of accomplishments. I hope we will develop the economy of Azerbaijan leading this road, the great natural resources, economic potential, scientific intellectual potential of Azerbaijan will be expended for the sake of welfare of our nation more efficiently.

We give special importance to the development of economic relations in the solution of these problems to the Republic of Turkey, and Turkey - Azerbaijan economic relations will be in the centre of our foreign economic relations thereafter.

We need specialists with new ideas and high quality to realize these changes, found a new life, a new state. That is why, in spite of development of science and higher education of Azerbaijan develops; we think it is more essential to train specialists in Turkey for our future.

I want to notify you that science, education, culture developed very rapidly in Azerbaijan in the XX century. Although we didn’t have independence, sovereignty, we had great accomplishments for our nation in important spheres at the same time. Our accomplishments were that living under the rule of other regime, state we could protect our language, Islamic religion, moral values, customs and traditions, developed our culture. All population in Azerbaijan is educated, there is no illiterate person. Primary education has always been compulsory in Azerbaijan and it is compulsory today. There are a number of universities in Azerbaijan. Baku University is 77 years old. Other universities have the history of 60-70 years. Azerbaijan has a great Academy of Sciences, its president is among our delegation. Some of our poets, cultural workers are here with me. I mean, Azerbaijan had great achievements in developing culture, science, education.

However, today, we consider that we must achieve higher development. That is why we carry out reforms in education and high schools. In this respect we pay special attention to cooperation with universities of Turkey. I suppose that we should have close relations with your university after I have become your Honorary Doctor. We pay special attention to the education of our youth, we want them to be educated and get specialty in the universities of Turkey.

I express my gratitude and appreciation to the teachers, professors giving education to Azerbaijani students, and chiefs of the university. I want to state that I am sure our cooperation will continue hereafter.

Azerbaijani youth are educated in your university; here are some of them in this hall, too. I want to tell them, dear children, you are significant and useful for the future of Azerbaijan. You should have higher education, get specialties according to new requirements in order to immortalize, develop, make Azerbaijan more powerful the independent, sovereign. There is an opportunity to get all of these in Turkey, at the universities of Turkey, as well as at "9 July"University. My advice and request to you is to spend days, months and years of being here more efficiently, get good education, master the most beautiful traditions, bring them to Azerbaijan, strengthen Azerbaijan-Turkey friendship, prepare yourself for the future of Azerbaijan.

Dear friends, once again I signify my contest and gratitude to you. I assure you that I will always carry the name of "Honorary Doctor of the University of July 9"with great pride and try to justify your confidence in all my future activities. I wish happiness and good fortune to your university, all city of Izmir, citizens and residents of Izmir. I have no doubt that the Republic of Turkey, as well as the universities of Turkey, scientists will strengthen Turkey day by day following the way founded by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, make it more powerful, more prosperous, and happier state, improve the welfare of citizens of Turkey. I wish you all success in the way of strengthening Turkey-Azerbaijan friendship.

Long live "The University of July 9"!

Long live the Republic of Turkey!

Long live everlasting unbreakable friendship of Turkey and Azerbaijan!

Thank you.

Translated from "Heydar Aliyev: Our independence is everlasting"(statements, speeches, declarations, interviews, letters, reports, appeals, edicts)- the 9th volume. p. 349.