Address of President Ilham Aliyev to the nation
– Dear fellow countrymen.
Exactly one year ago, Armenia committed a military provocation against Azerbaijan and fired on our battle positions and residential areas. As a result of this cowardly shooting, our civilians and servicemen were killed in the first hours. In response to this bloody crime, the Azerbaijani Army launched a large-scale counter-offensive on my order and won a complete victory in the second Karabakh war which lasted 44 days. On 2 December last year, by my order, 27 September was declared the Day of Remembrance in Azerbaijan. Today, we bow once again to the memory of our heroic martyrs who died in the second Karabakh war and ask Allah to rest their souls in peace. We will forever keep our martyrs in our hearts. At the same time, the foundation of the Patriotic War Memorial Complex and the Museum of Victory will be laid today. This is also an issue that was resolved by my order in December last year. A magnificent monument in honor of the heroes of the second Karabakh war will be erected in Baku, in one of the most beautiful places of our city. I must also say that a minute of silence will be declared across the country at 12 o’clock today.
The second Karabakh war is our glorious history. This victory will go down in history forever. The Azerbaijani Armed Forces have restored our territorial integrity by crushing the enemy army in 44 days. I have repeatedly said that the Azerbaijani people will never come to terms with the occupation. I have repeatedly said that we will return our lands at any cost. I have repeatedly said that if the enemy does not leave our lands of its own free will, we will expel them from our lands, and this is exactly what happened. We did not come to terms with the defeat in the first Karabakh war, gathered strength, mobilized all our forces, strengthened our army, invigorated the country’s economy, enhanced the authority of our country and honorably fulfilled our historic mission. We have expelled the enemy from our lands and restored justice and international law. We have restored our national dignity. Today, the people of Azerbaijan live as a victorious people. Today, the Azerbaijani state lives as a victorious state. From now on, we will forever live as a victorious nation and a victorious state.
As Armenia was being defeated on the battlefield, it perpetrated the most heinous acts yet again by staging military provocations against our civilians. More than a hundred civilians fell victim to Armenian fascism. Our towns and villages were under constant fire. Armenia used banned weapons, white phosphorus bombs and ballistic missiles. But there was nothing that could stop us. The people of Azerbaijan showed tremendous determination, resolve and courage to cope with all these provocations. No one and nothing could stop us. During the war, I repeatedly appealed to the people of Azerbaijan and said that no-one and nothing could stop us. We were waging war in the interests of justice. We were waging war of dignity. We were waging war for national pride. We were waging holy war.
During the war, we all lived by one motto – we will go forward in the face of death. The people of Azerbaijan stood behind the Azerbaijani Army and gave it additional strength. The death of innocent people, the destruction of our cities and villages did not break the resolve of the Azerbaijani people. We were moving forward every day, we were winning every day, we were receiving information about new successes every day. There was not a single day in the 44 days on which we would take a step back. Meanwhile, the contemptible enemy was forced to retreat even though they had a favorable position, the natural terrain of the area was a great advantage to them and they had built five to six lines of defensive fortifications in 30 years. During the 44-day war, not a single soldier deserted from the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. However, there were more than 10,000 deserters in the Armenian army. We are proud of our martyrs and wounded veterans, as well as our soldiers and officers who showed heroism in the Patriotic War. Their heroism and self-sacrifice will never be forgotten. We have shown the whole world that the Azerbaijani
people are a great nation, the Azerbaijani people never intended to come to terms with this injustice.
The 44-day Patriotic War was a celebration of national will, national spirit and national dignity. We won the battle on the battlefield. More than 300 towns and villages were liberated on the battlefield. We achieved this victory by shedding blood and offering martyrs, and we forced the enemy to kneel before us and sign the act of capitulation, an enemy that had been challenging us for 30 years, had been trying to trample on the honor and dignity of the Azerbaijani people for 30 years. The impudent, furious and impertinent enemy knelt before us, waved the white flag, surrendered and was forced to sign an act of capitulation in the early hours of 9 November. As a result of that, hundreds of towns and villages were returned to us without a single shot being fired or a single person becoming a martyr.
Thus, Azerbaijan has restored its territorial integrity. We have resolved the war by military and political means. The war is now in the past. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been consigned to history. There is no administrative territory called “Nagorno-Karabakh” in Azerbaijan, and if someone wants to resurrect the dead entity called “Nagorno-Karabakh”, let them resurrect it in their own territory, create an entity called “Nagorno-Karabakh” in their territory, create a republic or an association. And we recognize it, but not in Azerbaijan! This issue has been resolved. I say this as President of Azerbaijan and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Everyone must and will reckon with these words.
Today, on the Day of Remembrance, I would like to express my special gratitude to brotherly Turkey, which supported us the most throughout the 44 days. Brotherly Turkey and the fraternal Turkish people were in solidarity with Azerbaijan since the first hours of the war and showed their support for Azerbaijan. The statements made by Turkish leadership and by my dear brother, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gave us great political support, gave us additional strength, and we will never forget that. The 44-day Patriotic War showed the Turkish-Azerbaijani unity to the world again.
We are grateful to all other countries for their political support. I know that the hearts of millions of Azerbaijanis living abroad were beating in unison with their historical homeland. They were watching the battles every day and rejoicing in our success. I must also say that during the 44 days and afterwards, even today, I have been receiving thousands of letters. I receive letters of support and letters of solidarity from citizens of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijanis living in other countries, as well as citizens of different countries who are friends of Azerbaijan. Although a year has passed since the war, the entire international community has already acknowledged and accepted our victory. Today, Azerbaijan is the party forming the agenda in the region, including Azerbaijani-Armenian relations.
In 44 days, we have not only restored our territorial integrity, we have not only expelled the enemy from our land, we have not only restored our national dignity, we have also smashed the head of Armenian fascism. Anyone visiting the liberated lands today can see the manifestations of Armenian savagery with their own eyes. All our cities have been razed to the ground, all our historical sites and mosques have been completely destroyed or desecrated by the Armenians. Of the 67 mosques, 65 are completely destroyed, while the rest of our half-destroyed mosques were used by the hated enemy to keep animals, cows and pigs in order to insult us, to insult Muslims all over the world. I am confident that Muslims of the world will respond adequately to that. I receive letters from many Muslim countries about this issue. We are doing tangible work to circulate information about Armenian atrocities committed in the years of occupation, about Armenian fascism. We are informing and will continue to inform the whole world about this. Therefore, our victory, as I said, is a victory over Armenian fascism.
There has been a change of government in Armenia, but the nature of the enemy does not change. The Azerbaijanophobia and Islamophobia, which are rampant in Armenia, have reached the level of mental illness. Hatred against the Azerbaijanis has become an official ideology there. Otherwise, so much atrocity would not have been committed. Anyone who comes to the liberated lands is terrified. This couldn’t have been done by humans. I can even say this couldn’t have been done by animals either. The perpetrators of this are depraved, impertinent, Azerbaijani-phobic mass, a tribe. It cannot be described in any other way, and the whole world should see that. Armenia’s patrons should see that. Even though they are reluctant to see this, they must and they will see this. We will show that, we will show the whole world whom we have taught a lesson and what evil we have saved our region from. After all, shouldn’t the enemy who plundered and destroyed all our historical sites, national treasures and resources for 30 years have been taught a lesson? Nevertheless, I repeatedly said before the war that if the Armenian leadership vacates our lands of its free will in accordance with the norms and principles of international law, the war will be ruled out, of course. I said this many times during the war as well. I said that the Armenian leadership should provide us with a timetable stating the dates of which it would leave our lands, and we were ready to stop the war. But they did not do that. Forty-four days later, after the Armenian army’s back had already been broken, after we had liberated Shusha, which is considered an impregnable fortress, and then more than 70 villages from the invaders, the enemy was forced to surrender. This lesson is an eternal lesson for them and let no-one forget about that!
Armenian fascism has been destroyed, but its manifestations are visible. This is a very dangerous trend, especially for the Armenian state proper. I am saying this today, on the Day of Remembrance, revering the memory of our martyrs, that if we see Armenian fascism rising again, if we see a new threat being posed to our people and state, we will crush Armenian fascism again without any hesitation whatsoever. Everyone should know this! The Iron Fist, the symbol of war and victory, is still in place, and let no-one forget about that!
Dear fellow compatriots, on the Day of Remembrance I bow once again to the memory of all our martyrs, to the souls of the martyrs of the first and second Karabakh wars, and I ask Allah to rest them in peace. I want to tell their relatives, as I told them in the past, that their blood would not and did not remain unavenged. We have avenged their blood! I said we would take revenge for them on the battlefield, and this is exactly what happened. Our heroic soldiers and officers who gave us this Victory are the source of our pride. Their heroism, their bravery and self-sacrifice have already become a saga.
From now on, we will live as a victorious country, a victorious people, and we will build and restore the liberated lands. Life is returning to those lands, people are returning. Our main goal today is to provide for this return as soon as possible. I would like to end my appeal with the words that are an integral part of our victory: Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!