Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, at the ceremony ‎dedicated to the graduation of the students from the Higher Military School and Higher ‎Military Aviation School of Azerbaijan - July 27, 2002 ‎

Messrs young officers!

Messrs young cadets!

Messrs officers, generals!

Ladies and gentlemen!

I congratulate all of you on the occasion of the remarkable event in the life of independent Azerbaijan Republic, which is taking place today and I cordially congratulate those who graduate from the Higher Military School and join the special courses of specialization. Messrs graduates, Messrs young officers, I wish you every success in your future careers.

Today is remarkable, because it once more demonstrates the continuing army-building process of the independent Azerbaijan. Today is remarkable, because the armed forces, the national army of Azerbaijan gets a new large corps of officer. Young people educated at the Higher Military School in accordance with the requirements of the modern world, as well as in accordance with the changes associated with the ongoing reforms in the armed forces of Azerbaijan, are being sent to serve in various parts of our armed forces.

Today is remarkable, because it demonstrates the huge interest of the young people in the military service in Azerbaijan, the military profession. Our young people eager to devote their lives to serve in the military profession, eager to serve in the Azerbaijani army and guard the state - have entered this school and graduated from it. They declare proudly that they are ready to continue their military service.

This day gladdens all of us. It gladdens our people. Because today it demonstrates once more that Azerbaijan has a regular army, Azerbaijan has organized high level armed forces, has an army capable of protecting Azerbaijan, government and all its interests. The army is ruled by professional military and professional officers. New, young officers fill and enlarge the armed forces of Azerbaijan year by year.

My dear sons and daughters, I can imagine what you feel now. You are young, and there is a long way before you. You have chosen your path and done it correctly. You have chosen this service in the armed forces of Azerbaijan, protection of our homeland, our people and nation. I really appreciate your choice. But you are at the beginning of this way.

You have studied four years at the Higher Military School of Azerbaijan. This education has been organized on the basis of the system completely different from the previous one. Thanks to this education you have received profound knowledge by using all the possibilities of modern technology. Through this education you have developed and tied to your profession even more. I think that during those four years you have loved your profession more. The hard studies at the Higher Military School, and the days full of excitement - all of them were four years ago. Today, four years later, you graduated from the Higher Military School and begin the military service. This is an important stage in your life. You have overcome this period with honor, and have the right to graduate from the Higher Military Academy. You must demonstrate the received knowledge, quality and ability in your service. Therefore, today is a very exciting day for you. We witness it all. Every parent is experiencing a great excitement when a child first goes to school. They experience immense excitement when they finish the secondary school. To enter in higher education institutions, universities, of course, is not easy for the young people. Only with knowledge one can succeed. But before entering higher schools the young people and their parents are very worried. Finally, having graduated from a university or a higher school, they start to work.

I have experienced these feelings as a parent, as a father. But today I experience these feelings with you, and I am infinitely happy. I am delighted that this year the armed forces of Azerbaijan get a new corps of young officers. Thus, our army is being updated. New generations, new generation of officers, come regularly to our army. All this constantly strengthens our army. This is why I am with you to witness this boundless joy.

I recall the past year. We were here a year ago, held the same great ceremony. But when I was asked a few days ago if I would attend this ceremony, I was extremely surprised. How time flies! As if it was yesterday, and today we meet here again. Secondly, in response to that question, I said: There is no point in asking this question. How can I, first as a parent, and secondly, as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, President of Azerbaijan reject coming to the graduation ceremony at the Higher Military Academy established by our young, independent Azerbaijan? I came to meet you. I am extremely pleased and excited to see this scene. It means that in the past year, our dreams, aspirations, programs related to the high level army building, to fill the Azerbaijani armed forces with officers trained in accordance with modern requirements is already being implemented. This system is already operating and will continue in the years to come. It will grow every year.

This year, the number of the graduates from the Higher Military School is more than in the previous year. Moreover, those who are standing on this side will study their last year and their number is more than those of the previous year. We know that one must go through a serious contest in order to enter the Higher Military School. The number of the young, who reach the level of an officer, increases year by year.

Our Higher Military School, Higher Military Aviation School, Higher Naval School, Military Academy, different courses set up at various levels to ensure the recruitment of our army with necessary specialists - all this shows that today Azerbaijan has already set up an impressive education system for the armed forces, and this will continue further. Each year we shall have more and more new, young officers, our army will be filled with new officers, specialists in various fields. All this will allow to build our army in accordance with the modern requirements.

Cooperation and joint efforts have played a great role established many years ago between the Turkish Republic and the Republic of Azerbaijan, between the Armed forces of the Republic of Turkey and the armed forces of Azerbaijan in achieving great successes in building the army of Azerbaijan, in establishing a new military educational system, and in organizing daily trainings of the officers and soldiers. This work continues today and will continue in future as well.

There are riendly relations and strategic cooperation between the Turkish Republic and the Republic of Azerbaijan. We highly appreciate these relations and we shall continuously make efforts to improve them. Our cooperation in the army-building and in the military sphere is of special importance.

Last year we held the ceremony together with a delegation from Turkey headed Army General Husein Kivrikoglu, Chief of General Staff. The "Turkish Stars" were here in Azerbaijan then and they pleased our people much. Then we attended the first graduation ceremony of this school. We organized it together. I am naturally very happy that we were together at the first graduation ceremony.

High officials of the armed forces of the Republic of Turkey and distinguished guests from the Turkish Republic attend the ceremony today. I warmly welcome our guests and extend my gratitude and appreciation to the Republic of Turkey, its nation and the armed forces of the Republic of Turkey for our joint work on the sustainable development of friendly, fraternal relations, strategic cooperation and army-building.

Messrs young officers, I have already mentioned that you have passed the first stage of the path chosen by you. In front of you there is even a more complicated part of this road. As I stressed, now it is high time to use your knowledge, your ability to carry out your tasks. You have chosen this profession consciously and successfully completed the Higher Military School, therefore, I believe that you will continue your service by demonstrating good examples.

I have repeatedly mentioned and today I reiterate that military profession is very exacting. It requires physical training, discipline, dedication to the country, to the native land, courage, persistence and others. You will find it very challenging without the abovementioned. I do not want to say that you lack these abilities, otherwise you would not have chosen this profession. But you must constantly cultivate these qualities in you. They should show up in your work and become a habit of your life. I think you will get it.

Every officer, every commander in our armed forces must be morally healthy. Morality improves man and helps him to develop qualities in him. I am sure that you will not forget this advice.

You should know that the armed forces must defend Azerbaijan, the statehood and be always ready to perform the tasks assigned to them connected with the liberation of the territories occupied by the Armenian armed forces. Therefore, every day, in the course of the military service, you must always think about it, know it, remember it.

Our army is the army of today and of tomorrow. Azerbaijan celebrated the decade of its independence. After a couple of months, we shall celebrate the eleventh anniversary of our independence. Time flies, and Azerbaijan is developing. Apart from that the armed forces of Azerbaijan strengthen.

Moreover, the tasks undertaken by the independent Azerbaijan require that each person, each organization work more successfully and seriously. Even today, I call on the armed forces of Azerbaijan, the Defense Ministry to fulfill their duty much better, more efficiently. Today I emphasize it, because it is our constant demand. We shall not relinquish this principle even for a day.

Unfortunately, there are still drawbacks in some military units. In some cases, there are grave mistakes. Discipline in some military units is not at a proper level; commanders, officers do not provide adequate care to soldiers, in particular, young soldiers, who are recently enrolled in the army. These are facts, and despite the fact that I have repeatedly criticized and demanded to remove the shortcomings as soon as possible, unfortunately, they have not yet been outrooted, and they are many.

Today I do not want to talk about concrete facts. But, in general, I want to note that every officer, every commander, every high official in the armed forces of Azerbaijan should be aware of the need for dedication to the motherland. They enable our army strengthen with each passing day and not to lag behind. Today, once again, I demand it. I think that people in charge of the arms will draw appropriate conclusions from my criticism and demands. We should not be complacent.

Today I spoke a lot in praise. But it does not mean that we have achieved everything. No! We still have much to do. We have not yet done some of them, because it was not possible. But at the same time we have not done some of them because of the errors in the individual parts and abuse of their duties by some officials, including officials in some parts of our military, and because of their irresponsibility in carrying out their duties. Therefore, we should further improve our armed Forces, on the one hand, address the existing shortcomings and flaws, on the other.

I think that our young officers will always remember my words. Because these words are topical today and will be significant tomorrow, they will never lose their importance.

Our Higher Military School has reached such a high level within a short time, which naturally demonstrates the efforts of the teaching staff. In some cases, some people, who do not know or do not wish to know about our army, and people not aware of the situation there, not wishing to know the truth speak about our army, about its individual parts and disseminate various rumors, - unfortunately, it is now fashionable to some extent.

I have already said that, there are mistakes and shortcomings, but the work done is great work, great efforts and genuine service. And it is due to the commanders, senior officials of the army, the armed Forces. In the sphere of education, school leaders, teachers, professors, organizers of academic work carry out this job.

I feel a sense of satisfaction that there is a high level staff in our Higher Military School able to train highly qualified officers. But we must increase their number. It is worth to think about the improvement of their knowledge. I think this is one of the challenges facing us.

Messrs young officers!

I congratulate all of you once more. I wish you good health, success in your future career. I wish you set an example of courage and heroism if there is a need. I wish that the number of heroes increase in our army.

In the course of further service, you will certainly feel care and attention of higher officers. I want you to know it.

Today I mentioned Mr. Safar Abiyev about it. Each graduate of the Higher Military School must be on a special account and under control. First, how does he serve? Second, what attention and care is he paid in order to serve properly? Without constant attention and care there will be difficulties for some of you. I demand it from the leadership of the Ministry of Defense.

Those standing on the other side are the fourth year students. My dear sons, I wish the coming year become even more productive for you, the next year you, as standing in front of your brothers now, stand on this side, in officers' uniforms. I promise that next year I shall come to welcome and congratulate you.

The Azerbaijani President, commander-in-chief, has much work to do. However, whatever concerns the military, the armed forces is of special importance for the state, for me, for the President and for the commander-in-chief. I will continue to implement my duties by this principle. Therefore, be aware that my care and attention to the armed forces are not an ordinary one. Our armed forces are for me the most important. First, those, who serve in the armed forces, choose a difficult profession. At the same time, this is an extremely important job for the people, for the state, for the nation. Therefore, be sure that my attention and care will be permanent. I am personally engaged in developing the material and technical base of the army, and our system of higher education, in providing them with other means.

I think that this is the guarantee for Azerbaijan to survive as an independent state in future.

My dear sons!

Again and again I congratulate you and wish you good health and success in your future service. I want to see each of you in the military units in a year or two, and to receive information and reports on your success. I hope it will be like that.

We have a strong army. Our army is becoming powerful day by day. Our country has a bright future. The Azerbaijani people, Azerbaijan state will undoubtedly liberate the occupied territories. We shall liberate our land, we shall, surely! We want to resolve this issue peacefully, and shall continue our efforts. But our efforts have also limits. We shall exert all our efforts and resolve the issue peacefully. If it is not possible, then you, our dear officers, must always be ready to liberate our lands.

Our lands will be set free, our Army will grow strong, the economy of our country will develop, and in the coming years, Azerbaijan will take high way of development. You can be sure of it.

Once again, I heartily congratulate you. Thank you.