Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony of presenting order of "Azerbaijani flag" to the chief of General Headquarters of Military Forces of Turkey, Husein Givrigoglu - August 25, 2001

The chief of General Head quarters of Military Forces of the Republic of Turkey, the army general distinguished Huseyn Givrigoglu has started his official visit to Azerbaijan today. I heartily greet our honourable friend, brother Mr. Husein Givrigoglu on this occasion and tell him "You are welcome to Azerbaijan!"

The links between the Republic of Turkey and independent Azerbaijan cover all the spheres. I can say with great pleasure that these relations develop day by day, make our nations, countries closer to each other and benefit both sides. Also, good relations were formed between military forces of the Republic of Turkey and Azerbaijan a few years ago and they are still at a high level.

The Republic of Turkey is a friendly, brotherly country for us. Our relations constitute strategic cooperation. After Azerbaijan gained its independence the Republic of Turkey was the one that kept the closest, the most sincere, the friendliest links with our country as an independent state.

We are getting ready for the tenth anniversary of the state independence of Azerbaijan. We will celebrate it in October of this year. During these ten years the relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan have rapidly developed. I especially emphasize that as Azerbaijan gained its independence, Turkey was the first state to recognize our independence. But our relations are not limited with of only these ten years. The relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan have the century-old history.

We have the same roots. Our traditions and national-moral values are the same or very similar to each other. We speak the same language. We follow the same religion, used the same moral values and still do. Our ancestors, the generations that lived before us, constantly developed this friendship and brotherhood. But after Azerbaijan gained its independence, these relations, along with the ones between nations, have reached the level of interstate relations. The relationships between Azerbaijan and Turkey are mutually advantageous. At the same time, Turkey and Azerbaijan are always close to each other in the international community and in all international organizations. And this is one of the essential factors for carrying out the foreign policy of Azerbaijan.

Even before Azerbaijan gained its independence, it was subject to military aggression of Armenian armed forces. But even in that period, when Azerbaijan was not an independent country yet and was part of the USSR, our Turkish brothers still lived in Azerbaijan, closely followed these hard problems and morally supported us.

Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship and cooperation are of special importance for the resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Turkey is a member of the OSCE Minsk Group set up for peaceful resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in 1992. In this framework and also at the summits of all international organizations the President of Turkey, and other high ranking officials have always backed the position of Azerbaijan, supported our country, tried for the peaceful resolution of the problem and informed all the world about Armenia being an aggressor and invader.

Cooperation in military sphere between Turkey and Azerbaijan also occupies a special place. It is known that after Azerbaijan gained its independence, it did not have its own army. In general, as Azerbaijan was a part of different empires for centuries, it had great difficulty in building its own national army.

It is known that Azerbaijan had great commanders in its history, our country had a large army, our people fought and defended Azerbaijani lands. But in the last two centuries Azerbaijan had been deprived of all this. That is why we had no experience in army building or it was rather too little. Namely the problems of Azerbaijan comprised of the fact that even a few years before our country had gained state independence, being a part of the USSR, it confronted Armenian armed forces, carried fights and tried to defend its lands. In these conditions the formation of Azerbaijan National Army has been a hard process, but the Azerbaijani nation, heroic, brave people of Azerbaijan, the young fought to defend Azerbaijani lands, shed blood, became martyrs.

But along with this our state needed a regular army. We started to build this regular army. But in order to form the army first of all one needs experience. Secondly, specialists are needed to train

officer personnel. Young soldiers needed to be trained for fight or taught to fulfill military service, be instructed and educated. For all this, basing on our friendship and brotherhood relations with the Republic of Turkey, we took advantage of the experience of Military Forces of Turkey and still do. Moreover, Military Forces of Turkey have for a long time cooperated with Azerbaijan and rendered assistance in the sphere of building of the National Army of Azerbaijan, raising its level, training officer personnel, organizing and improvement of our military units. We are very grateful to the Republic of Turkey, Turkish People and its Military Forces for all this friendly, brotherly help shown to Azerbaijan and especially for the help in the formation of the National army.

The Army, Military Forces of the Republic of Turkey are capable of putting up resistance to military forces of the largest states of the world. The history of Military Forces of Turkey is in the close relation with the history of formation of the Republic of Turkey. Naturally Turkish people showed great examples of heroism in the past and in the times of Ottoman Empire. But Turkish Army, Military Forces of Turkey were also of a great service in surviving of Turkey and in forming the republic in this country in 1923.It is well known that when Ottoman Empire collapsed after the World War First there were attempts to destroy, disunite Turkey from different sides. But Turkish people and particularly Turkish soldiers saved Turkey fighting hard, struggling for salvation. Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, one of the greatest personalities of the world was the creator and the head of both the Military Forces of Turkey and the Republic of Turkey.

It has already been 78 years that the Republic of Turkey lives, develops and is among the economically developed countries of the world now. The Military Forces of Turkey that were founded and formed by great Mustafa Kamal Ataturk have a high level today.

The Military Forces of Turkey have a special role and occupy a special place in the Republic of Turkey. The Military Forces of Turkey were and are still, of a great service both in protecting and keeping the integrity, nationhood of Turkey and holding back different terrorist and saboteur forces , that wanted to strike Turkey.

I can say that great Mustafa Kamal Ataturk formed new Turkey, the Republic of Turkey. The great Mustafa Kamal Ataturk formed Military Forces of the Republic of Turkey. The fact that Turkish people, Military Forces of Turkey firmly follow the great Mustafa Kamal Ataturk‘s way and always demonstrate loyalty to his precepts, way and personality arouses feelings of pleasure.

Being its friends and brothers we rejoice the achievements of the Republic of Turkey and wish it to develop further on. Being its friends and brothers the Azerbaijani people feel proud of the fact that the Republic of Turkey has such powerful, mighty army and military forces, meeting modern requirements. The military cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan gives

good results. It specially means that firstly we take advantage of the experience of Military Forces of Turkey. Secondly, the Military Forces of Azerbaijan use their help in training new cadres, who meet modern requirements. At the same time we use the help of the Military Forces of Turkey to make the structural changes fulfilling modern requirements in our army and bring the army to modern standards. For all this, I express gratitude of Azerbaijani people, Azerbaijani state to You, honorable Mr. Husein Givrigoglu and, in Your person to all the Turkish people, the Republic of Turkey and Military Forces of Turkey. You can be sure that these relations, friendship and brotherhood of ours will always develop and last forever.

Yesterday we became witnesses of how mighty, high standards the Military Forces of Turkey have. The arrival of "Turkish stars" in Azerbaijan and performing flights in the sky of Azerbaijan made every Azerbaijani person feel proud. People in Azerbaijan had never witnessed such an event, had never seen it. After the news about this ceremony was broadcast on our television people showed great interest to it. Firstly, because they had never seen such beautiful flights of this kind of planes. They were keen on seeing it. Secondly, because Military Forces of Turkey, "Turkish stars" performing skilful flights in the Azerbaijan sky over Baku filled every Azerbaijani person with great pride. It is said that people observed it from all corners of the city. Our National park and Azadlig square were full of people. There is a saying in Azerbaijan "There is no room to swing a cat". But not only from those places, these flights were also observed from different peak points of the city. Because their flights could be seen from everywhere.

This greatly rejoiced all people. It is said that people were mourning with happiness. This event, along with being another symbol of our friendship, brotherhood, filled us with great pride at the fact that the Republic of Turkey has such military forces. This is why, I congratulate you on this occasion. I request You to give my gratitude to our brothers, Turkish eagles, "Turkish stars". I wish them further success in future. Highly evaluating all this friendship, brotherhood, strategic cooperation The chief of General Head quarters of Military Forces of Turkey, the army general, honourable Mr. Husein Givrigoglu has been honoured with the highest military order of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. My honoured friend and brother, with this decree once more I demonstrate how great respect and esteem the state of Azerbaijan has for the Republic of Turkey, its state and people. At the same time, I highly value the help provided to us.

Translated from "Azerbaijan" newspaper, August 26, 2001

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