President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Victorious Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva have met with the servicemen undergoing treatment at Clinical Medical Center No 1.
The head of state made a speech at the meeting.
Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- Dear servicemen, the Patriotic War is over. Azerbaijan has won a brilliant victory in this war, our lands have been liberated from occupation, we have expelled the occupiers from our lands. I have come to congratulate you personally on this glorious victory, to express my gratitude to you, to express the gratitude of the Azerbaijani people to you for fighting heroically, for your exceptional contribution to expelling the enemy from our lands. You were wounded, you put your lives on the line and showed tremendous courage.
The Second Karabakh War will go down in history as Azerbaijan’s glorious victory. All our people have shown unity and solidarity in achieving this victory. All the steps taken were aimed at inflicting crushing blows to the enemy with few losses and in a short period of time so that to force the enemy to leave our lands. Victory on the battlefield also led to victory in the political arena. If we had not won this victory on the battlefield, I do not believe that the occupier would have left the remaining lands. The enemy, which had been trying to occupy our lands for almost 30 years in various ways, wanted to perpetuate this occupation. We could not achieve any results through negotiations. We won this war at the expense of the lives of our martyrs, the courage of our servicemen and the policy of our state. I ask you to remember all our brothers and sisters who were killed in the Great Patriotic War by observing a minute of silence.
May God have mercy on all our martyrs! May God send healing to you! May God send healing to all our wounded soldiers and officers!
This victory will remain in the history of Azerbaijan forever. Both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table, we were able to achieve what we wanted. We were able to liberate the cities of Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Gubadli, Shusha using military force. We raised our flag in those lands, our flag flies there now. Today, the whole world sees what Azerbaijan is capable of doing. Both in the political sphere and in the field of military construction, we gained an advantage from the first days of the war thanks to the professionalism of our servicemen and consistently advanced towards this last goal.
The fighting was fierce, the enemy put up stiff resistance. Let everyone know that the victory achieved over these 44 days was achieved thanks to the professionalism and heroism of our servicemen. The enemy did not want to leave the occupied territories of its own accord, and you, the people who took an active part in these battles, know very well what fortifications they had built there in 30 years. It took great heroism and military professionalism to break through those fortifications and crush those lines of defense. Also, the geography of that region is a fortification in itself. Shusha is an impregnable fortress. Panahali Khan built that city so that he could protect the people of Shusha from the enemy as much as possible. It is a symbol of great professionalism and courage to capture Shusha in a few days with little losses and without causing great damage to the city. The enemy had been making preparations on these lands for 30 years. These preparations show that they did not want to leave our lands voluntarily. If they did, why did they spend so much money on these issues? This shows that during all this time – for about 30 years – the enemy was simply deceiving us, deceiving the mediators that they would leave our lands. This was a lie, and the scene on the battlefield confirms that again. At the same time, the landscape of the liberated lands shows that the enemy lived with hatred for the Azerbaijani people. Otherwise, why would they demolish all the buildings? Almost 99 percent of our liberated territories have been destroyed – residential buildings, schools, hospitals, public buildings, historical sites, graves of our ancestors, mosques. Now we are spreading these images so that everyone can see them in the media. This is savagery and vandalism. This is a war crime. The enemy has committed a war crime, and I have already issued instructions to calculate and record the damage. Groups have already been mobilized and international experts will be invited. With the participation of international experts, the entire material and moral damage will be calculated, and we will take the enemy, both individuals and collectively, to international courts, they will pay compensation, be held to account. They are already being held to account for their ugly deeds.
We tried to resolve this issue peacefully. In particular, as the head of state I have been working to resolve the issue peacefully for 17 years, and this is the main reason why this issue has taken such a long time to be resolved. International mediators also assured us that this issue could be resolved peacefully. But over the past year, we saw that we were simply being deceived and the peace process was almost paralyzed. The new leadership of Armenia has, in fact, disrupted the process of negotiations with unacceptable and harmful steps and statements and was making no secret of that in recent months. Demonstrative steps were taken to show both us and the whole world that the occupied territories would remain under occupation forever. They published various maps. These maps indicated the borders of the “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”, which included all the occupied territories. They changed the names of our historical cities and gave them new ugly names. They changed the names of all our villages. They wanted to erase our historical and cultural heritage. They wanted to bring Armenians from abroad to Shusha and settle them there. As a result of the construction of new communications and roads, they wanted to accelerate that settlement, especially in the regions along the Araz River. Due to financial and political support from the Armenians living abroad, some municipalities in several countries already decided to recognize the "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic". What does all this show? All this shows their belief that they could both legitimize the occupation and succeed in promoting the so-called criminal entity in this way. When we saw that they were simply deceiving us, trying to insult us and our holy places, we said our word and I did not hide it. During all this time, for 17 years, I had been saying that if this issue was not resolved peacefully, we would resolve it militarily. Whatever people may say, I still think the same and I am saying the same today. For the past 44 days, I received so many calls and so many signals to stop. I said that I had one condition for the enemy – leave our lands and we will stop. Let him say that he is leaving and we will stop. Let him provide a timetable, a date, and we will stop. But the enemy believed that they could stop our successful attack.
Already after the first weeks they realized that they would not be able to stand in front of us. Therefore, they began to appeal to the international community more actively, asking them international organizations and some countries to stop us. I said that no-one could stop us and that we would go to the end. Pashinyan must accept my conditions and declare that he is leaving specific districts at a specific date, and we have achieved that. The joint statement signed on 10 November was in fact an act of Armenia’s peaceful capitulation. Just as after the end of World War II, Hitler's henchmen signed an act of capitulation in front of the military leaders of the allied countries, I also said that Pashinyan must sign an act of capitulation in a live format, in the form of a video conference. But frankly speaking, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked me not to insist on that too much. I thought that Pashinyan was already humiliated enough, was already punished for his ugly deeds, was already on his knees and had already accepted all my conditions. The signed statement also approved a timetable for the withdrawal of the occupying forces from Aghdam, Lachin and Kalbajar districts. I said that I did not object. I told him to sign it wherever he wanted, in a dark room, in a warehouse, far away from the cameras. And that is what happened. All the people of Azerbaijan saw the signing ceremony between myself and President Putin. Pashinyan, where did you sign this document? It doesn't matter much. Because it is impossible to find him now. And no-one can ask Pashinyan where he signed it.
We have once again shown our strength and the unity of our people. We have shown that no force can stand in front of us, no force can turn us away from the right path. You carried out this historic mission – Azerbaijani soldiers, Azerbaijani sergeants, Azerbaijani officers. Of course, we have a strong army and a high level of technical equipment. The whole world has seen what technical capabilities we are using. I can also say that our victories and military operations are being studied all over the world today both in terms of technical capabilities and in terms of operational steps, preparation and implementation of operations. This is a new generation of warfare, which combines planning, technical equipment, application of technology, proper planning and implementation of operations, combat capability and high morale of our servicemen. But as I have said several times, it is not our hardware but our soldiers and officers who have won this victory. They have liberated our lands from the enemy and given this Victory to our people. Therefore, the first heroes of this victory are Azerbaijani soldiers and Azerbaijani officers, and everyone should know that. We have proved that we are a great nation. We have proved that we show solidarity and unity. This unity had already existed in society before, but after this victory it rose to an even higher level. This unity will allow us the opportunity to revive the liberated lands and return our IDPs to those lands as soon as possible. The Karabakh region, our beautiful historical land, will be reborn, revived and revitalized. Karabakh, an integral part of Azerbaijan and one of the most beautiful corners of our country, will become a real paradise.
It is not too difficult to imagine the feelings of our people. I have been receiving thousands of letters every day during this period. Letters full of joy, full of gratitude, full of pride really touch me. Today, when our TV channels and websites show people who have lived the life of an IDP for many years, their feelings and words, I want to cite the expression they love and say the most. They say, I am no longer a refugee. Do you know what this means? It is a manifestation of perhaps the happiest moments, both in the lives of these people and in the lives of all of us, in my life. They say, I am no longer an IDP. They wanted to get rid of this burden. They wanted to rid themselves of this expression pasted on us by the hated enemy, and this day arrived.
Dear former IDPs, you are not IDPs any longer. I address them in the presence of our heroic soldiers and officers: you are not IDPs any longer, you are going home. We will get you back. Those sitting here, thousands of our soldiers and officers are returning you to your native lands. We, the Azerbaijani state, will do our best to take you back as soon as possible. First of all, of course, security measures must be taken. The hated enemy has planted mines almost everywhere in those areas. Now the mine clearance process must begin. We will now involve international organizations. Because we have limited internal capacity to do this in a short time. First of all, security, then infrastructure, then all other restoration issues will be addressed. At the same time, as you know, during these 44 days, the enemy wanted to avenge its defeat on civilians. As a result, 93 civilians were killed, more than 400 civilians were injured, more than 3,000 buildings were either destroyed, burned or damaged. I have already instructed to send groups to the regions, so the damage is being calculated. All the destroyed houses will be rebuilt at the expense of the state. All the damaged houses will be restored by the state. The lost property of our citizens will be restored, lost livestock will be given to citizens. So our citizens can rest assured that all their lost property will be restored. I promise that the houses to be built for them will be better, of higher quality and more spacious than the previous ones. We will do all that. For us, the well-being and security of our people is the priority issue. But during this period, the most important issue for me was to return our lands, restore our territorial integrity, raise our flag in Shusha, raise our flag in all other occupied lands. We have achieved this!
We are living through historic moments. You can see people celebrate this holiday in the streets. This holiday is celebrated all over Azerbaijan, by all Azerbaijanis around the world. This holiday is celebrated in brotherly Turkey just like here. This is natural. Because we are one nation, two states. These days, I have repeatedly thanked my dear brother, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. We talked on the phone yesterday. I thanked him again. Turkey's political and moral support played a huge role in achieving this victory. Because the words of the President, my brother from the first hours that “Azerbaijan is not alone, Turkey is with it”, stopped the attempts of many to intervene in this conflict. During all this time, the President, ministers and officials have always expressed their support for us. You see how many delegations are coming here. Several delegations come here from Turkey almost every week. The support and solidarity Turkey has shown are highly appreciated by the Azerbaijani people.
Now a new era begins in our lives. This period will usher a happy future for our country. A new era begins in your life. You have been wounded. But you can rest assured that we will heal you. We will bring our most severely wounded servicemen back to life. Our doctors are working around the clock now. After that, all necessary measures will be taken to return you to normal life. As you know, modern prostheses are brought for our servicemen who lost their hands, arms and legs in the First Karabakh War on the personal initiative and under the control of Mehriban Aliyeva. There are the prostheses people can use to play football. All this will be provided. You can be sure of that. Regarding your future life, I want to appeal to all government agencies and private companies already. I state that special steps will be taken to provide jobs for our servicemen, our heroic and wounded servicemen. We will always take this into account.
The problems of martyr families will be resolved. We have almost solved the housing problems of most of the families of our martyrs who were in line. This year, the families of 1,500 martyrs will be provided with houses and apartments by the state. Today, I am instructing all relevant agencies to provide financial support to the relatives of those killed in the Second Karabakh War, the Patriotic War as we call, as soon as possible, and they are being registered now. After accurate registration, they will be provided with apartments and houses.
During all these 44 days, before and after, I will reward our servicemen who have shown heroism on the battlefield and in the rear. Relevant instructions have already been issued. I have already instructed and I want to declare in your presence that new orders and medals will be established in Azerbaijan. These orders and medals will be awarded to servicemen and civilians distinguished in the Patriotic War. I also proposed the names of these orders and medals. I think you and the Azerbaijani people will like these names. I have also instructed that the military equipment of the enemy we have taken as booty be brought to Baku. I asked for a place to be chosen where we will demonstrate this equipment. All people of Azerbaijan will go and see what we have brought back. Some of the destroyed equipment is in such a state that it is impossible to bring it now. But I regularly updated our people on how much of the enemy equipment we had destroyed. In fact, their army has no equipment left, its army is almost non-existent. They have admitted that themselves. They themselves admitted that Azerbaijan had beaten them. So we will demonstrate the military equipment we have taken as booty. I have many plans. Hopefully, we will do it all. We will further strengthen this historic victory in the legal and political spheres. After that, our citizens will live comfortably and return to their homeland. Thanks to you, Azerbaijan will enter a new era.
This is why I came to pay my respects to you today, immediately after the end of the war. I would like to thank your parents for raising such heroic children for the state. I have come to express my personal gratitude and congratulations to you. The first people I congratulate are you and all our heroic warriors in your person. I have come to say that I will always be with you. You can count on me. Our heroic warriors will always be in my spotlight in the future. I congratulate you again, get well soon and return to normal life. Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
Senior Lieutenant Mail Asgarov: I completed my active military service as an officer and was released into reserve. When partial mobilization was announced by your order, I also returned to military service, and we fought with the enemy in the direction of Fuzuli district where I was wounded. I am very proud that my comrades did not leave our mission unfinished and won.
At the hospital where I was treated after my injury, we were looking forward to your speeches on the liberation of our lands from occupation. One of the most important speeches for us was the news of the tricolor flag being raised in Shusha, the cradle of Azerbaijani culture. You granted it to us. I would like to express my special gratitude to you for that.
In your last speech, or rather in your latest speech, you addressed the people and said that we defeated the enemy like an iron fist. I would describe it in such a way that this iron fist represents the unity of our people, the solidarity of our people, the strength of our army and, in particular, the great confidence of the people in you. So I say this as someone who is among the people, it is the great confidence people have in you. This ensured our victory. We crushed the enemy with that fist.
We express our endless gratitude to you for giving us this Victory, this joy, this triumph. I take this opportunity to congratulate you and you, Mehriban khanim, on this victory. Thank you very much.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much. We have been waiting for this victory for a long time. Our people deserve this victory. Our people are a victorious people. Thank you, guys.