On January 14, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev laid foundation stones for Fuzuli-Shusha highway on the 27th km of Ahmadbayli-Fuzuli-Shusha highway, as well as airport in Fuzuli district.
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then visited the city of Shusha, capital of Azerbaijani culture which was liberated from occupation.
Driving the car to Shusha, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- We left early in the morning. The destination is Shusha city.
We are driving into the liberated lands. The glorious Azerbaijani Army attacked from this direction and drove the enemy out of our lands.
The village of Garakhanbayli of Fuzuli district destroyed by the Armenians.
The newly developed project of the Fuzuli-Shusha highway includes the construction of bridges and tunnels. The new road will be connected to Fuzuli airport and a new road will be built to Isa bulaghi.
The head of state and first lady laid the foundation stone for the road.
President Ilham Aliyev: We have laid the foundation of the Fuzuli-Shusha road. Now we will lay the foundation of the Fuzuli airport. At least the airport runway should be put into operation this year.
President Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva then laid the foundation stone for international airport in Fuzuli district.
The airport, to have a runway that is 2,800 meters long, will be equipped with infrastructure in compliance with international standards.
All conditions will be created here for the arrival and departure of planes and the comfort of passengers.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
-Today, on January 14, the foundation of Fuzuli International Airport was laid. I have informed the Azerbaijani people about the construction of the airport. This is a very important project for the development of our liberated regions. The Fuzuli International Airport is to be commissioned this year. At least the runway should be commissioned this year. The airport building may be commissioned this year or next year. The main purpose of this airport is to facilitate the arrival of foreign visitors to Shusha. The distance from here to Shusha is not very large. Taking into account the fact that the foundation of a new four- and in some places six-lane Fuzuli-Shusha highway was laid earlier today, foreign visitors will be able to arrive at the Fuzuli International Airport and travel to Shusha very comfortably and quickly.
I have declared Shusha the cultural capital of Azerbaijan. Work has begun to restore the city of Shusha, restore its historical appearance. In general, only two months have passed since the war ended, but extensive construction work has already begun. A second international airport will be built in our liberated lands in Kalbajar or Lachin districts. A site is now being selected and the construction of two international airports must be completed in the near future.
The great return begins. All work has begun. I am sure that just as we drove the enemy out of our lands in a short time – in a matter of 44 days – we will restore our ancestral lands of Karabakh in a short time.
Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then headed to the city of Shusha.
President Ilham Aliyev: We have laid the foundation of Fuzuli international airport. The Fuzuli international airport is to be commissioned this year. At least the runway should be put into operation so that our citizens, foreigners and Azerbaijanis living abroad could easily come to Shusha by plane starting this year. At the same time, the instruction has been issued to start work on the organization of international flights from the Fuzuli international airport. At the same time, people will be able to come here from other cities of Azerbaijan – Lankaran, Nakhchivan, Ganja and then go to Shusha easily. Now we are heading for the city of Shusha, and additional information will be provided along the way.
We are going from Fuzuli to Khojavand district. After that, we will go to Shusha. There are some spectacular landscapes in front of us, beautiful, majestic and snow-capped mountains. We are in our beautiful Azerbaijan. This is Shakarjik village. The village of Shakarjik is adjacent to Fuzuli city. When the city of Fuzuli was liberated, fierce battles took place for Shakarjik. Notice that the contemptible enemy destroyed all these territories during the occupation. We have already visited Fuzuli. The Azerbaijani people have seen those horrible scenes. The whole world has seen them, as it should. Therefore, I have ordered to invite foreign visitors to Azerbaijan, bring them to these regions, show them the Armenian savagery and their deeds. The whole world can see now what a savage enemy we fought against and what a savage enemy we have destroyed. These mountains are ours.
This is the territory of Boyuk Taghlar village of Khojavand district. See how beautiful our country is. All this territory was liberated from the occupiers by the heroic Azerbaijani Army.
The head of state, first lady and their daughter Leyla posed for photographs.
President Ilham Aliyev: Our journey continues. Notice that the sun has come out. The sun also greets us and illuminates our path. We are going to Shusha, to the liberated Shusha. This road is under construction. I am sure that it will be one of the most beautiful roads in our country. Of course, it will be built with the highest quality. At the same time, it is a scenic road, a historical road, a road to victory.
There was no read here before. Our heroic servicemen passed through these territories. We have built this road in a matter of two months. Then, of course, the road will be widened and asphalted. Azerbaijani citizens will go to Shusha comfortably.
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then arrived in Shusha.
Azerbaijani President, Victorious Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev hoisted national tricolor flag in the city of Shusha.
The head of state then met with the servicemen and made a speech.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear servicemen, 8 November will forever go down in the history of our people. On 8 November, Azerbaijan won a brilliant victory by liberating our ancient city of Shusha from the enemy. The liberation of Shusha required great heroism, professionalism and national spirit. The Azerbaijani army demonstrated all these sublime features.
I have come to Shusha using the victory road. That road is now open. There was no there before. Passing through mountains, forests, valleys and tens of kilometers, the heroic Azerbaijani army liberated villages and settlements along the way, approached the city of Shusha, liberated the village of Dashalti and then liberated Shusha from the occupiers.
I am confident that the Shusha operation will be included in the textbooks of leading international military schools. I already know that experts from many developed countries analyze every single day of the 44-day war. Because every day of the 44-day war is a day of victory. The liberation of Shusha was the greatest blow to the enemy because the enemy thought that it was impossible to liberate Shusha, and they were probably right to some extent. Because Panahali khan built this city in such a way that steep rocks and natural landscape protect Shusha from all sides. In May 1992, Shusha was occupied as a result of the betrayal of the then leadership of Azerbaijan and the PFPA-Musavat duo fighting for power. At that time, the Armenians gave their so-called operation a name – wedding in the mountains. But there was no operation. The city of Shusha was vacated. The then minister of defense said that if Shusha was lost, he would shoot himself in the head. He cowardly fled Shusha. After that, the Armenians invented legends about this operation – the alleged wedding in the mountains. We have arranged a wedding for them they will remember forever. The heroic sons of Azerbaijan liberated Shusha from the occupiers by conducting a perfect military operation, demonstrating courage, bravery, heroism, strength and national spirit, and after a long break the Azerbaijani flag was raised in Shusha on 8 November.
When the National Flag Square was inaugurated in Baku, I said in my speech that the day would come when the Azerbaijani flag is raised in the occupied territories, including Shusha. And this is the day. I remember some representatives of the Armenian separatist regime saying at the time that the Azerbaijani flag could be raised in Shusha only if Azerbaijan recognized the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh republic” and then opened an embassy in Nagorno-Karabakh. Notice what disgusting and arrogant expressions they used. They are sitting like mice now, tight-lipped. They can't utter a word. We came here as winners, we raised our flag, the Azerbaijani flag is flying in all the liberated lands. We have come here through fighting. Nobody gave us these lands. No negotiations were of any importance whatsoever. We saw that we had to liberate our lands on our own, and we did that. We have proved our strength to the whole world by crushing the enemy’s head. We forced the enemy to kneel before us and sign the act of capitulation. This is what happened, and the humiliating act of capitulation will go down in history forever. The whole world is talking about our victory. Leading media outlets around the world write about Azerbaijan's brilliant victory and publish reports. Analytical articles are now being published, books will be written.
The 44-day war of our glorious army is the war of the 21st century. We had prepared properly for this war, and we made no secret of that. I have said many times, including in my meetings with the military, that if the enemy does not leave our lands of its own free will, we will force them out of our lands. Force will play a role, and so it happened. Every single day of the 44-day war was a day of victory. Every day we moved forward. We did not drop back a single time. This is a very rare occasion in wars. There are attacks in wars, there are setbacks, there are maneuvers, but we were moving forward every day. Every week we liberated dozens of settlements from the occupiers. As a result, we liberated more than 300 settlements and Shusha by dealing crushing blows to the enemy. We forced them to withdraw their troops from Aghdam, Lachin and Kalbajar districts in just 20 days. They were thrown out of our lands and we returned. From the day the war began, I was telling them to leave our lands and make a commitment. I was saying that the Armenian leadership should take this responsibility, that it should give us a timetable of when they would leave our lands, and I would have stopped the war. Otherwise, we will go to the end. Despite all the pressures, all the phone calls and all the threats, I said that we would go to the end and drive the enemy out of our lands. We did that, we went all the way, we drove the enemy out and forced them to sign an act of capitulation on 10 November, thus ending the war.
This war will live forever in our history. We won this war at the expense of the lives and blood of our martyrs, at the expense of the bravery of our servicemen. May God have mercy on all our martyrs! May God grant patience to their relatives! All martyr families are being taken care of by the state. All martyr families will be provided with apartments and houses by the state. Instructions have already been issued this year. The allowance for the families of martyrs has been increased from 300 to 500 manats, and these families will always be in the spotlight. The state has already provided apartments to the families of 9,000 martyrs killed in the First Karabakh War. Our wounded servicemen are being taken care of by the state. The issue of rehabilitation of disabled servicemen and providing them with modern prosthetic appliances will be resolved. I have awarded high orders and medals to thousands of servicemen who showed heroism in the war. The Order of the Patriotic War is the highest military order of Azerbaijan. The “Victory” Order, the “Karabakh” Order. I suggested the names of all these orders myself. The servicemen who distinguished themselves in the liberation of our settlements and cities were awarded medals bearing the names of these districts. Our army successfully liberated Jabrayil, Fuzuli and Khojavand districts, Sugovushan and Hadrut settlements, Murovdag range, the southern part of Lachin district, Gubadli, Zangilan districts and the city of Shusha on 8 November. On 9 November, the enemy surrendered, threw in the towel, was put on its knees and conceded defeat.
We are a victorious people. I last came to Shusha 39 years ago. I came here twice 39 years ago - first on 14 January. Here I am again today, on 14 January. This time I came as the Commander-in-Chief of the victorious Azerbaijani Army, the triumphant Azerbaijani Army. I have come as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army that broke the enemy's back, and I say here under the sacred flag and in front of the heroic soldiers that we will live in these lands forever! We will restore Shusha and all other destroyed cities and villages. We will restore all our destroyed historical sites. Armenia spread false speculation about Shusha in the whole world, claiming that Shusha is their ancient city. How can a city built by Panahali Khan be Armenian city?! After all, this is a matter of recent history, recent events. If they considered it their city, why did they bring it to such a deplorable state? Why did they destroy all the buildings? See what the city is like! Over 30 years, they blew everything to smithereens, but only built villas and created conditions for themselves.
We will restore this city. A large group was sent here on my instructions and all the analysis was done. I received the first update yesterday and already issued relevant instructions. In the near future, we will ensure the restoration of Shusha in a planned manner. Of course, from now on we must protect Shusha like the apple of an eye. Our soldiers, our heroic sons will protect Shusha so that the enemy does not venture to look in this direction. I said that if anyone in Armenia even thinks of revenge, they will deal with our iron fist again. This iron fist broke their backs and crushed their heads. If they commit any provocation against us, our response will be very harsh, they will be very sorry and face a bitter defeat again. No-one can stand in front of us. This will always be the case from now on. The Azerbaijani Army, special forces, our heroic sons, fighters of military units must protect Shusha and all the liberated lands like the apple of an eye, so that the enemy does not try to do anything ever again. If they do, the end will be bitter.
At the end of my speech in the Alley of Martyrs on 8 November, announcing the liberation of Shusha to the people of Azerbaijan, I said: dear Shusha, you are free! Dear Shusha, we are back! Dear Shusha, we will revive you! I repeat the same words today. Shusha is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
Then a photo was taken together with the servicemen.
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited Saatli Mosque in the city of Shusha.
The head of state presented the Holy Quran to the mosque.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
- We have visited the Saatli Mosque, prayed there and presented the Holy Quran from Mecca to the Saatli Mosque. We will then visit the Ashaghi Govharagha and Yukhari Govharagha mosques. I will present the Quran I brought from the holy Mecca to these mosques. During the occupation, the enemy destroyed our religious sites in the liberated lands, devastated 67 mosques or made them unusable. After the liberation of Shusha, our citizens cleaned up the mosque and carried out some repairs. Of course, the mosque will be overhauled, relevant instructions have been issued and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has undertaken this mission. Mehriban khanim made a statement on this, so we will restore all our historical and religious sites.
I must say that the overhaul and restoration of the Aghdam Juma Mosque I visited has already begun. Specialists have already been sent there and proposals for repairs will be made soon. At the same time, mosques in Shusha will be restored. The destruction of the minaret shows the Islamophobic nature of the enemy. Armenia is constantly trying to establish relations with Muslim countries, to develop relations with some countries, introduce itself as a country that has a positive attitude towards Muslim peoples. This is all a lie. If anyone still believes this, let them come to Shusha, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil and other liberated lands of ours and see what Armenian leaders have done to Muslim mosques, what they have done to the temples that are sacred to every Muslim. They have destroyed and desecrated them, kept pigs and cows in them, wrote obscenities on the walls of our mosques. Can such a country be friends with Muslim states? Of course not! I have repeatedly stated this in all international platforms and addressed the leaders of Muslim countries both in a bilateral format and during multilateral meetings and through international events. I have said that Armenia cannot be friends with Muslim countries. A country that has brought mosques to this condition cannot be friends with Muslim states. This is hypocrisy, and viewing Armenia as a friendly country is hypocrisy and ungodliness. How can leaders of Muslim countries be friends with a country that has destroyed mosques? Let them answer. Let them answer to their own people, not to me. Can they be friends with a country that has destroyed mosques and put cows there? Let their people answer this.
We are protecting and will continue to protect the temples of all religions. Let no-one doubt that. The history of our independence and the pre-independence history showed that. The sites of all religions are protected in our country – churches, synagogues, including an Armenian church in the center of Baku, are protected and repaired by the state. What did they do? When I was in Zangilan, I made a speech outside a local mosque, with only walls left of it. I appealed to the people of Azerbaijan and said what they have done. Addressing the international organizations, I said, come and see this, prepare a report here, not in your cabinets. Don't believe the false information of the Armenian leadership and its patrons. Come and see with your own eyes what they have done to our mosques. They repaired the Yukhari Govharagha Mosque together with a foreign company only to create an image. We do not need this repair. This repair is a symbol of hypocrisy. It is intended to create the impression that the Armenian leadership repairs mosques. Unfortunately, the company of a certain country was involved in these ugly deeds. Of course, the repair of the Yukhari Govharagha Mosque is unacceptable because they came to our lands illegally without our permission, stayed here for months and allegedly repaired this mosque in collaboration with the Armenian criminal junta. We do not need such repairs. Let no-one be deceived, no-one should fall for this. We will repair and rebuild all our mosques, and the whole world must see what the hated enemy has done to our holy temples.
After the liberation of Shusha, the process of restoring the city and all its historic buildings began. Attempts to Armenianize Shusha have been stopped. For 30 years, they tried to Armenianize Shusha, but they failed. This is an alien city to them. If they ever considered it their own, they would not have brought it to this condition. The real owners of Shusha are back, we are back. Shusha is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
As a result of Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijani lands, including Shusha, historical and cultural monuments were destroyed and house museums were looted.
Busts to Khurshidbanu Natavan, Uzeyir Hajibayli, Bulbul in Shusha are among them. These shot busts are witnesses of Armenian vandalism. In one of his speeches, President Ilham Aliyev said that after the restoration of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, busts to Bulbul, Natavan and Uzeyir Hajibeyli will be returned to Shusha. These words of the head of state have already become a reality. The busts of these geniuses were restored in Shusha.
In an event held on this occasion, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- When I came to Shusha today, I brought the busts of our geniuses Khurshidbanu Natavan, Uzeyir Hajibayli and Bulbul, which were kept in the yard of the Art Museum in Baku for almost 30 years. The House of Culture was located here, and the busts of Uzeyir Bey and Bulbul used to stand here. The hated enemy destroyed the Shusha House of Culture and shot at the busts of our geniuses.
The bust of Khurshidbanu Natavan was unveiled personally by Heydar Aliyev in the summer of 1982. I was here with my father at that time. There was a bust of Khurshidbanu Natavan not far from here. After desecrating the busts of our genius personalities, the Armenians took them to Armenia to be melted down and sold. Just imagine how mean a person should be to shoot at and insult the memorial busts of historical personalities, take them away and try to melt them down. At that time, Polad Bulbuloglu found out about that and appealed to great leader Heydar Aliyev. As a result of the measures taken, these busts were taken away from the Armenians. I must say that they were paid for. They sold them – just as they have done throughout their existence. We bought the busts back. We brought them back then and placed them in the yard of the Art Museum.
Then at different times, some people suggested that we put these busts somewhere in Baku. I said no to that. We will take them back only after liberating Shusha from the enemy and put them in their original places.
The busts of our great personalities are a symbol of our Victory. Their spirits will be rejoicing. They have returned to their homeland. We brought them back, chased the enemy away, crushed the enemy, threw them out of our lands, took back Shusha and liberated it. Everyone coming here to Shusha will see the Armenian savagery.
Historical justice is being restored. We are restoring historical justice – at the expense of strength, perseverance, resolve, courage, and national spirit! Natavan, Uzeyir bey, Bulbul are the embodiment of our national spirit. Their cherished memory has lived and will live on forever in our hearts. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited the building of the former Shusha District Party Committee.
President Ilham Aliyev: The loathsome enemy created an institution for themselves called the mayor's office. This was the meeting room of the head of the junta in Shusha. This was the room of the “head of executive authority” of the city of “Shushi” of the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh republic”, which has now gone to hell. Not “Shushi” but Shusha. They should not forget that the iron fist is still there. And this is where the thugs had rest. These are their books, look at that. Their place is in a landfill. All of this will become museum exhibits. They have dismantled the air conditioner and taken it away. Running away from Shusha, the thieves even found time to take the air conditioner. This building commands a view of the square. Broken glass and busts are visible from here.
While leaving Shusha, the Armenians committed theft and looting of office buildings. For example, all air conditioners and heating system equipment in this building have been dismantled. It is beyond doubt that this is a manifestation of greed, but also of theft. It is also a sign of the vile fate of those who vandalized the culture of the Azerbaijani people during the 30 years of occupation.
The head of state, first lady and their daughter Leyla then familiarized themselves with the Natavan bulaghi.
President Ilham Aliyev: My father and I visited the Natavan bulaghi in 1982. After 39 years, I am back as Commander-in-Chief of the Victorious Army. Shusha is ours again! Shusha is Azerbaijan again!
The head of state enquired about the water and electricity supply of Shusha.
It was noted that the city now has a regular supply of water and electricity.
President Ilham Aliyev said that the Natavan Palace, which functioned as a children's sanatorium during the Soviet era but was destroyed by Armenians after the occupation, would be restored as the house of the khan's daughter.
The head of state and his family members posed for photos in front of the Natavan Palace.
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva also viewed Bulbul's destroyed house-museum.
Pointing to Bulbul’s destroyed bust, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- Another act of vandalism, another sign of hostility on the part of the Armenians. See what they have done to the bust and house of great Bulbul. We have answered them with a vengeance. We answered them on the battlefield, we avenged all our martyrs, their blood did not remain unavenged. The contemptible enemy that committed the Khojaly genocide and the cultural genocide was defeated and destroyed on the battlefield. I am sure Polad will come and restore his father's house.
The head of state, first lady and their daughter Leyla also visited the Ashaghi Govharagha and Yukhari Govharagha mosques.
President Ilham Aliyev also donated the Holy Quran to these mosques.
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then visited the Gazanchi church in Shusha.
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva arrived at the place where the bust of Molla Panah Vagif was once located.
President Ilham Aliyev: This is also a historical picture – Heydar Aliyev in front of the bust of Vagif. The minaret of the mosque is visible on this picture. Vagif's bust has been destroyed by the Armenians. They build an ugly shop in its place. This is another manifestation of Armenian vandalism, another crime.
The head of state and his family members viewed the destroyed mausoleum of Vagif.
Making a speech in front of the mausoleum, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- The mausoleum of Molla Panah Vagif, built on the initiative of great leader Heydar Aliyev, was inaugurated exactly 39 years ago – on 14 January 1982. I remember that historic day. Because at that time, along with my father, I was standing right here. There is video footage of that historic event. It was very cold and snowy. It was snowing heavily. However, the people gathered at this event, Azerbaijani intellectuals did not feel that cold at all because the magnificent mausoleum of Molla Panah Vagif, the vizier of the Karabakh khan, was being inaugurated. This initiative was put forward by great leader Heydar Aliyev. The construction work was carried out under his leadership and a beautiful, majestic mausoleum was built.
It was quite unusual to erect a mausoleum in honor of the khan's vizier at that time, during the Soviet era. Everyone can see it as a natural phenomenon now, but at that time, in the era of socialism, the construction of a mausoleum in honor of the khan's vizier was a truly extraordinary event. It was as a result of Heydar Aliyev's persistence and courage that Azerbaijan was able to achieve this at that time, and this place was not chosen by chance. The grave of Molla Panah Vagif is here. The establishment and opening of this mausoleum was, on the one hand, a sign of respect for the history of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the genius of the Azerbaijani people. On the other hand, the opening of this mausoleum in Shusha once again confirmed that Shusha is an Azerbaijani city.
When the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region was established, the goal of including Shusha in it was quite clear – to steadily and gradually erase the traces of Azerbaijan here, to Armenianize this territory and to make Azerbaijanis a minority in this territory of their own republic. That was the goal. During the time of national leader Heydar Aliyev, in 1969-1982, as a result of his efforts and policy, including the construction of the railway from Yevlakh and Aghdam to Khankandi, the establishment of enterprises in Nagorno-Karabakh and the arrival of specialists from different parts of Azerbaijan, the ethnic composition changed significantly in favor of the Azerbaijani people. In 1982, Azerbaijanis already made up 25 percent of the population of the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region. If Heydar Aliyev had stayed in power in Azerbaijan at that time, Azerbaijanis would have constituted a majority in the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region in the next 10 years and no conflict or separatism would have ever occurred here.
The great leader's foresight, devotion to his native people, love of our literature and culture were manifested in the construction of this mausoleum. I want to say again that khanates were described as anti-national entities in the official Soviet ideology, while khans were presented to the public as enemies. The official ideology of the Soviet Union was that khanates existing in the territory of Azerbaijan allegedly only exploited people. The people of Azerbaijan allegedly waited for these khanates to be abolished and Soviet power to be established instead. Of course, this was nonsense. The Azerbaijani people have lived with the love of freedom and independence for centuries. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our history passed in the colonial format, as we were part of other states. We were forced to do that, it was not our choice.
The great leader did a great deal to keep the national spirit at a high level in Soviet times. The opening of this mausoleum was a historic event. I remember that day very well. I was standing there, slightly apart, while my father and prominent cultural figures were standing here. I remember Azerbaijani and Armenian poets reciting poems. Even Armenian poets recited poems in Azerbaijani. It was a celebration of friendship, a friendly event, and no-one could ever imagine that separatism would break out here in a few years, that Armenia would invade Azerbaijan, that our historical city would be taken away from us, that our historical sites, mosques and this mausoleum would be destroyed, and that they would try to erase the centuries-old heritage of the Azerbaijani people from the Karabakh land. This could not have occurred to anyone. I have said this many times and I want to repeat – if Heydar Aliyev had not left Baku for Moscow in 1982, if he had not been appointed to Moscow, he would never have allowed any separatism to take place here. But when Heydar Aliyev came to power, Shusha was already under occupation, Kalbajar was under occupation, Lachin was under occupation, Dashalti was under occupation, all surrounding areas were under occupation, and a geographical link was established between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
The government of the Popular Front and Musavat is to blame for this. They committed this betrayal and then cowardly went into hiding, fled and sold Shusha. They handed over the impregnable fortress of Shusha to the enemy in order to overthrow the then government of Azerbaijan and come to power. And this is what happened. The loss of Shusha led to the collapse of the then government. The Popular Front took advantage of this and came to power after the loss of Shusha and the surrender of Lachin to the enemy. Everyone remembers this history. It is recent history. The Popular Front-Musavat duo committed treason, betrayal and crime only to come to power. What did they do next? They turned looting into a state policy in Azerbaijan, declared bribery their ideological principle, and left the mark of betrayal and desertion on the history of the Azerbaijani people. The Popular Front-Musavat traitors humiliated and put our people to disgrace in the eyes of the whole world. After all, who was Armenia to defeat us? Who were they? The anti-national Popular Front-Musavat elements gave Shusha to the enemy, then fled and went into hiding.
After that, Armenian vandals razed all our cities to the ground. While visiting the liberated lands, I see this with my own eyes, and the whole world should see it too. They have destroyed our mosques, graves, historical sites and all our buildings. This mausoleum was also destroyed by the contemptible enemy. In this part of the mausoleum, there were patterns. Pictures of that are available. All of that has been demolished and looted, and the mausoleum is destroyed.
How hostile they must have been to commit these atrocities. The perpetrators are the Sargsyan-Kocharyan duo. It is the Sargsyan-Kocharyan duo that has brought our cities to this plight. We have crushed the thugs, the Khojaly executioners, those who made themselves false heroes. We have destroyed their army. We took Shusha back from their army, showing heroism and climbing steep cliffs. We have destroyed their army by fighting against cannons and tanks with light weapons and knives. Where were they? They fled and hid in Yerevan. One of them ventured to come here but ran away like a rabbit five days later. The other did not speak at all. There is a third one, war criminal Ohanyan, who was born here on our lands. He allegedly came here to defend Shusha during the war. We chased him away like a dog. He is still hanging around in Armenia. Whenever he opens his mouth, he says ugly words. Everyone saw the fate of those who were trying to annoy us. Let no-one forget this iron fist. We broke the enemy's back. If necessary, we will break it again. Kocharyan-Sargsyan, enemies of the Azerbaijani people, you have brought this place to this condition. I came as the Commander-in-Chief of a victorious Army and I stand here. I stand here on my own land. There will be no traces of you here again.
Today, some elements calling themselves politicians in Nagorno-Karabakh are trying to raise their heads again. Let them not forget, let them not mess with our patience, let them not forget the 44-day war. They are claiming that they will build an army and take back the lands. Come on! Take it! Come here, you are close. Come and try to take it, and I will see how do that. We have chased you away like dogs, we have thrown you out, we have sent you to hell.
Vagif Poetry Days will be restored. I have already issued the instruction and they will be held this year. The Khari Bulbul festival will be held this year. We are already starting the reconstruction of Shusha. A master plan is being prepared. All buildings have been inspected. Shusha will become one of the most beautiful cities in the world as the cultural capital of Azerbaijan. In fact, it has always been the case. The loathsome enemy has simply destroyed all our historical sites. But we will restore them. We will return their real appearance to them. The people of Azerbaijan will live in Shusha forever. Shusha is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
As part of the visit to Shusha, President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva also visited the Jidir Duzu.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
- This is the Jidir Duzu plain, so dear and so native to all of us. It is impossible to imagine Shusha without Jidir Duzu, just as it is impossible to imagine Azerbaijan without Shusha. We have returned to Shusha, we have returned to Jidir Duzu. The sound of mugham will be heard in this historic place, Azerbaijani songs will be performed here, major events will be held, weddings and celebrations will take place here.
Some time ago, the occupying forces committed ugly actions to insult our dignity, to insult the people of Azerbaijan in this place that is sacred to us – the whole world is already aware of this. They danced “Yalli” here. There is no trace left of them here, we have thrown them out of here. Jidir Duzu, Shusha and Karabakh are free now. The true owners of this land have returned – with weapons in their hands, with flags in their hands and with patriotism in their hearts. Patriotism brought us to Victory. Patriotism has become the main factor in our victory.
I am very delighted that a patriotic and strong young generation raised in the national spirit has grown up in Azerbaijan in recent years. I have been the leader of Azerbaijan for 17 years. Those who grew up over these years have liberated these lands. Our citizens of all generations have made a great contribution to this victory but I must also say that the main burden, the main task was performed by the younger generation. Those who were 10 and 15 years old in 2003 are now 27-32 years old. It was their patriotic upbringing and hatred of the enemy that led us to Victory and restored Azerbaijan's historical justice. The younger generation, the older generation, experienced people, all our people, all ethnic groups, all religions are united in one fist. This symbol of our victory was not chosen by chance. I have said this before, but I want to say again here that this fist is both about strength and unity. We already had a sufficiently high level of unity, and it will be even stronger from now on. United countries get the upper hand. Determined leaders get the upper hand. Leaders who do not look up at anyone, who are not afraid of anyone and defend national interests get the upper hand. Everyone saw this in the example of Azerbaijan.
We have won and Armenia has lost. At the same time, we are right. Our cause was one of justice. Armenia's cause is a cause of aggression. Justice has prevailed at the expense of the strength, at the expense of our resolve, at the expense of our policies and at the expense of our unity! Kudos to the people of Azerbaijan! Long live Azerbaijan!
During the occupation, the Armenians started to construct a new building to move the the “parliament” of the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh republic” to Shusha. Shusha was liberated from occupation on November 8, 2020. The construction of the “parliament” building of the so-called regime was left unfinished.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
- The so-called regime stated that it would move the “parliament” of the “Nagorno-Karabakh republic” to Shusha. This would have been yet another attempt to Armenianize Shusha. They started to construct this building as the “parliament” building of the “Nagorno-Karabakh republic”. But they could not complete it. We are back, the true owners of this land are back. We have driven them out of here, so their ugly deeds never took place. The “parliament” went to hell, the status went to hell. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then viewed the destroyed by Armenian vandals building of Shusha Realni School.
President Ilham Aliyev: There is no other nation in the world as fraudulent as them. This building will also be restored.
On 15 January, President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited the Jidir Duzu plain again.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
- On the morning of 15 January today, we came to the Jidir Duzu plain again. We are now leaving Shusha for Baku. Before leaving, we wanted to visit this sacred and historic place again, see this beauty again and say, “Thank you very much” to Shusha and “See you next time”. We have returned to our homeland, we have liberated Shusha. From now on, the people of Azerbaijan will live in Shusha forever.
We visited all historical sites, our sacred mosques in Shusha yesterday. I can say with heartache that the level of destruction here is very upsetting for every Azerbaijani. However, we are extremely proud to see Shusha unbent and majestic, albeit destroyed. Shusha is on its feet. Shusha is not broken. Shusha is standing tall! Hard as the hated enemy tried, they could not change the appearance of Shusha. We will heal all the wounds of Shusha. Shusha will become one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
We decided to stay the night in Shusha yesterday, although we were supposed to return to Baku. But I thought we had to stay in Shusha because this is the first time the President of Azerbaijan has visited Shusha. Our independence is about 30 years old. However, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Commander-in-Chief came to Shusha for the first time in 30 years, stayed in Shusha and, frankly, does not want to leave.
The unique architecture, natural terrain, landscapes, atmosphere and aura of the city are unparalleled. As I mentioned yesterday, I visited Shusha twice in 1982. At that time, several events were held here. So I didn’t get to see Shusha the way it was yesterday, the way it is today. I saw once again that the unique aura, nature and architecture of this city are our great assets.
I slept only five hours last night. I woke up at 5 o'clock. I don't know why. Perhaps yesterday was too exciting because it is such a unique feeling to see Shusha, to return to Shusha. It is possible that the pleasant nature and air of Shusha are enough for a person not to want to sleep much. Before returning to Baku, I came here again, to the Jidir Duzu plain, to the historic place of Shusha, to address the people of Azerbaijan again. I want to say that we are a lucky nation to have restored our territorial integrity. We are a lucky nation to have asserted ourselves as an independent state. Let me say again – Shusha is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva were invited to a tea table on Jidir Duzu.
President Ilham Aliyev: We are having tea in pear-shaped glasses and baklava on Jidir Duzu. Let our friends rejoice and the enemies get blind!