Address of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Victorious Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev to the nation
- Dear fellow countrymen, dear sisters and brothers!
It is with great pride that I declare that the city of Shusha has been liberated from occupation! Shusha is ours! Karabakh is ours! I heartily congratulate all the people of Azerbaijan on this occasion. I heartily congratulate all the people of Shusha.
Shusha, which was under occupation for 28 and a half years, has been liberated! Shusha is free now! We have returned to Shusha! We have won this historic victory on the battlefield. 8 November 2020 will forever remain in the history of Azerbaijan. This history will live forever. This is the day of our glorious victory! We have won this victory on the battlefield, not at the negotiating table. I have said many times that, despite all the statements, there are military solutions to this conflict, the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and we are proving it on the battlefield today. Nearly 30 years of meaningless negotiations did not bring us any closer to the result. Our ancient historical lands had been under occupation for almost 30 years. In the process of negotiations, the Armenian side simply wanted to gain time, strengthen the status quo and perpetuate it. Over the years, signals sent to Azerbaijan from various power centers were repeatedly urging us to put up with the situation. However, showing determination, courage and political will, we did not go for any agreement that did not meet the interests of the Azerbaijani people. I have repeatedly stated from all international forums that the restoration of our lands and territorial integrity is our main task, and we are fulfilling this task. Negotiations did not yield any results. They were just trying to fool us, they were just trying to freeze the issue. We have won this victory on the battlefield, we have won this victory by giving martyrs. May God have mercy on all our martyrs! I ask God's mercy for all our martyrs who died in the first Karabakh war and the second Karabakh war- the Patriotic war as we call it. I wish God's healing to our wounded compatriots. We are liberating our lands from occupiers at the cost of the lives and blood of our people, soldiers and officers. We are expelling the occupiers from our lands and we will expel them!
Shusha was under occupation for 28 and a half years. Shusha has a special place in the history of Azerbaijan. This is our ancient and historical city. For centuries, Azerbaijanis have lived, built and created in Shusha. Shusha is a pearl not only of Azerbaijan but also of the entire Caucasus. However, by occupying Shusha, the hated enemy dealt a great blow to our cultural heritage, destroyed our historical sites, destroyed our mosques and insulted us. We have now returned to Shusha. We will restore all our historical sites, all our mosques, and a call to prayer will be heard in Shusha again after 28 years. A few years ago, at the opening of a mosque built on my instructions in the Jojuq Marjanly settlement which was liberated from occupation after the April 2016 fighting, I stated that this mosque was similar to the Shusha mosque. It is of the same size and architectural style. I said that one day we would restore our mosques destroyed by Armenian vandals in Shusha, and that day is coming. Today, the Azerbaijani flag is flying in Shusha. Today, all the people of Azerbaijan are proud to welcome this good news.
We are gathering strength in a focused manner, tirelessly, despite all the pressures. We are building up economic power. If we did not have economic power, it would not be possible to achieve this victory. First of all, economic independence had to be secured and was secured. Today, Azerbaijan is not economically dependent on anyone, on any country or international financial institution. This independence has allowed us the opportunity to develop our country and strengthen our army at the same time. We buy all the military equipment and weapons needed for our Army from foreign markets. If we didn't have economic opportunities, how could we get them? I think that by pursuing a successful policy within the country, we have created a unique model of development for the world. Our internal solidarity, national unity and common cause gave us additional strength, did not allow some hated foreign circles to implement their ugly plans in respect of Azerbaijan. However, there were such plans, there were such attempts. We have repulsed these attempts by showing political resolve and unity, we have defended our pride as a people, as a nation, we have defended our independent choice, and we have proved that no-one can or will interfere in our work. Without this unity and national solidarity, we would never have been able to liberate our lands from occupiers. The main goal of the smear campaign, the campaign of libel and defamation against us over the years was to remove us from our main task, to distance us, to drown us in internal problems and to keep the occupied territories in the hands of the occupiers forever. Strong political will and the unity of the people and government overthrew these plans.
The third key factor in our victory is our success at the international level. We have proved to the whole world that Karabakh has always been the land of Azerbaijan. We have proved that the Azerbaijani people have lived in these lands for centuries. We have proved that the Armenian population was settled to these lands only 200 years ago, how it was resettled and for what purpose. We presented it all to the world community, with evidence and facts. We have proved that Nagorno-Karabakh is historical and ancient land of Azerbaijan, and this issue must be resolved on the basis of the norms and principles of international law. All of the world's leading organizations, all international organizations have adopted fair resolutions and decisions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Four resolutions of the UN Security Council, resolutions of the UN General Assembly, resolutions of the Non-Aligned Movement, resolutions of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, resolutions of the European Parliament and other international organizations unequivocally recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan. This gave us additional strength. If we had not done that, the processes surrounding the conflict today could cause us great problems. Over the years, we have been able to establish relations with many countries on the basis of sincere, businesslike and mutual respect. Many countries consider Azerbaijan a strategic partner, and this expression is already reflected in international documents. We have been able to establish relations with all neighboring countries on the basis of sincere friendship, mutual respect and mutual trust. If we had not done that, a completely different process could have taken place around the conflict today.
When Shusha was occupied, our main problems were that we did not have an army and the leadership could not fulfill its duties. At the international level, Azerbaijan had strained relations with almost all countries. We were almost isolated. But today we have isolated Armenia. Our transnational projects have created a completely new landscape in the region. We have redesigned the energy and transport maps of the region. The projects implemented on our initiative meet the interests not only of our people, but also the interests of many countries, including the countries of the region. We have both bilateral and trilateral cooperation formats with neighboring countries. All this has greatly strengthened Azerbaijan's international authority. Without these achievements, the problem could remain frozen.
Finally and, first of all, army building. During these 17 years, the key part of my work has been devoted to army building, to strengthening our army, to equipping our army with the most modern weaponry. It was not an easy task either. Material resources alone are not enough to buy these weapons. At the same time, diplomatic and political efforts must be made, and we have achieved all this. Today, Azerbaijan provides for its military needs from many countries. At the same time, the defense industry has been created in Azerbaijan on my initiative. We meet the needs of our army largely through domestic production. Azerbaijan produces more than 1,000 types of military products, including the most modern ones. This is our activity – building the army, solving the material and housing problems of our servicemen, solving the problems of the retired servicemen, providing them with apartments, improving the working conditions of our servicemen. We have rebuilt almost all our military camps and military bases, and they meet the highest standards. Of course, first of all, there is combat capability. The ability to fight has increased. Repeated military parades on Azadlig Square have shown the world our strength.
Increasing combat capability is a key factor in army building. We use modern weapons, we use technology and we destroy enemy equipment, but it is Azerbaijani soldiers who liberate our lands, it is Azerbaijani officers who liberate them. They are the ones who chase the enemy with a flag and a weapon in their hands, soldiers who destroy the enemy. Long live our soldiers!
We have created such an army! We said to the occupiers, we said to them, put an end to the occupation before it is too late. Therefore, our policy was unequivocal at all times. We have said that if the issue is not resolved peacefully, we will resolve the issue militarily. I have said this many times. Therefore, I have been criticized by some countries. I said to them: weren't our lands occupied by military means? Has Armenia occupied our lands peacefully? Every country has the right to self-defense. This right is given to us by the UN Charter. I said that if I see that the talks are completely ineffective, we will be left with no other option. Let everyone know this – the enemy, its supporters and the mediators involved in this matter. I have always kept my word. I did what I told the Azerbaijani people. I kept my word on this issue and we are already celebrating the Victory.
Since 27 September, more than 200 cities, villages and settlements have been liberated, including the city of Fuzuli, which has been completely destroyed. The hated enemy did not leave a single safe building there. Jabrayil is completely destroyed. Gubadli, Zangilan are completely destroyed. Villages, cities. Hadrut settlement, Sugovushan settlement and the city of Shusha today.
Our victory march continues. There are still occupied lands and the fighting still continues. If the Armenian leadership does not respond to my demand, we will go to the end. No-one can stop us. There is no force in the world that can stop us. Armenia has already admitted its bitter defeat, has humiliated itself and insulted its people. The Armenian leadership now seeks help, military assistance, weapons and equipment from other countries. Where is your invincible army now? We have destroyed it. All their words, all their statements were a myth, a lie. The invincible army is the Azerbaijani Army! We showed this on the battlefield, expelled the enemy from the lands on our own. Billions of dollars have been spent over 30 years, fortifications have been built, engineering facilities have been built. But we have destroyed them all – at the cost of our spirit, strength and unity!
I want to say again that our victory march continues. Enemy forces must be withdrawn from all occupied territories. This is our demand. International norms and principles, decisions and resolutions of international organizations require exactly that.
Dear sisters and brothers, today I give this good news to my native people here in the Alley of Martyrs. This is not accidental. This is natural. Today, I bow once again to the souls of our martyrs. Today I declare that the blood of our martyrs does not remain unavenged. The blood of the victims of Armenian atrocities, the victims of Khojaly, does not remain unavenged. We took our revenge on the battlefield. We have never fought against civilians, we didn’t do it this time either. Although the hated enemy has killed 93 and wounded more than 400 civilians with cowardly fire. But I said no, we are Azerbaijanis! We will take our revenge on the battlefield! We have destroyed their army, we have destroyed their equipment, we are destroying and will destroy. We will drive out the enemy!
Today, I also visited the grave of great leader Heydar Aliyev and paid my respects. I said in my heart, I am happy to have fulfilled my father's will. We have liberated Shusha! This is a great victory! The souls of our martyrs and the Great Leader are happy today! Congratulations, Azerbaijan! Congratulations, Azerbaijanis of the world!
These days I receive thousands of letters from Azerbaijanis around the world, from people living in Azerbaijan. I get thousands of letters every day. I just regret that I can't read them all. There is simply not enough time. What wonderful words, what great support! Today we prove to the whole world that we are a great nation, we are a proud nation! We are an invincible people! We show the enemy's place on the battlefield!
These days, I have repeatedly appealed to the people of Azerbaijan and showed my fist to the enemy. I said that this is not such a fist. This is an iron fist. We will crush the head of the enemy with this iron fist! At the same time, this fist is a symbol of our unity. Today, the people of Azerbaijan are as united as this fist! It will always be the case! This unity will last forever! This unity will allow us to fulfill all our responsibilities in the future. For all these years – for 17 years – I have felt the support of the Azerbaijani people. I have seen your trust, your kind attitude to me. It gives me strength. This is invaluable support for my policy. I have always assured the people of Azerbaijan that I will serve my homeland and my people with dignity and loyalty. I am glad that I have kept my word. As always, I have kept my word.
Giving this good news to the people of Azerbaijan on this historic day is perhaps one of the happiest days of my life.
Dear Shusha, you are free!
Dear Shusha, we are back!
Dear Shusha, we will revive you!
Shusha is ours! Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
2020, November 8