Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with believers - Tezepir Mosque, August 18, 1995

Dear and respected compatriots, sisters and brothers!

I congratulate you, all Azerbaijani people, all Azerbaijani Muslims on the occasion of birthday of Prophet Mohammed! I wish happiness and peace to all Azerbaijani Muslims!

Birthday of Prophet Mohammed is our great holiday. Because we, Muslims, see the beginning of our lives on the basis of Prophet Mohammed sent by God and the Koran revealed by him. The years and centuries our people, Muslims, lived as instructed by God and facilitated by Prophet Mohammed and the holy book Koran helped our people get out of difficulties and it brought us to happy days, and presented happiness. Therefore it is the greatest holiday for us. It is the holiday of happiness and morality. We observe this holiday with great feeling of pride. Because, we have a book like holy Koran. Because we, Muslims have reached achievements by following the way put by God and Prophet Mohammed.

These days we express our faith, respect and esteem to the Koran, and to the way put by prophet Mohammed. We pray once again for all future generations to follow this way. Let God, holy religion of Islam help and support us to go out of difficulties we come across in our life!

Independent Azerbaijan Republic is in a difficult period of its history. This period has its very positive sides. At the same time it has difficult, hard and distressing sides.

Our happiness is that Azerbaijani people have obtained the national freedom, independence they wanted, longed for centuries. Now Azerbaijani people are the master of their fate and they are able to build, and establish an independent state and live. It is the time our people reached the highest level during the history they lived, and it is the greatest happiness for us. Our people are free, we have gained independence and as an independent state, we live on an equal footing with other nations of the world. Our happiness is that after years of deprivation, we acquired our religion. Islam got rid of all the prohibitions and deprivations. It became the source of the creation of morality for the Azerbaijani Muslims. It is a great achievement and happiness. Now the doors of our mosques are already open. New mosques are opened day by day. Our people come back to their religion; they appreciate religion and understand the importance of Islam for our people. It is a great achievement.

Therefore, today, on the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, honoring God and submitting to Islam, I have come to the mosque. I have come to you to celebrate our happiness, achievement, this holiday together with you.

At the same time, the historical time we live has great difficulties and sad moments. It is reality of our life. We must live this time; we must overcome hardships in order to get rid of these sorrows. This sadness lies in the fact that seven years ago our people, our nation and religion underwent military aggression by the enemy forces that is by Armenia. It is already seven years that this military aggression is underway.

Unfortunately, due to lack of necessary administration in the hard times of our nation, we have enabled the Armenian armed forces to occupy part of our territories. Territorial integrity of Azerbaijan has been violated, 20 percent of our lands have been occupied by Armenian armed forces. Azerbaijanis are Muslims who lived and built houses in those lands for centuries, have been driven out from their places by force, displaced and have become refugees. Our children have been killed, their blood have been spilt as a result of the military aggression that lasted seven years. Azerbaijanism, Islam has been damaged greatly. It is mournful and hard sides of our life.

But we believe in future. We believe because we are just people, we are peace-loving nation; we are part of Muslim world. We believe that we will recover from this situation and our lands will become free, occupiers will be driven out and our territorial integrity will be secured. But it is not so easy. It is necessary to do much to achieve this and we do it. In order to achieve this in May of the last year, we signed a cease-fire agreement. It is already fifteen months that firing has stopped. We can keep this cease-fire regime, we observe it. It is fifteen months that our children do not get killed, bullets are not fired, there is no war, blood is not spilt, and we have no martyrs anymore. You know that we used to have martyrs every day in the previous years. We all used to participate the mourning ceremonies, bury martyrs, weep and shed tears. Our tears have not dried up yet. Because, we shall never forget the memory of the martyrs. Their heroism and martyrdom launched them into eternity. Their memory will always live in our souls.

The difference is that there is no more war, people do not die in a war, and funerals are not arranged. Undoubtedly, it is not our final success. It is just a means to activate our policy and use all opportunities to ensure our territorial integrity and liberate our occupied lands in order our Muslims, Azerbaijanis, our citizens to return their home. I am sure of this.

But our grief and hardship is not only this. If it were so, it would be OK. Another problem is that during the seven years of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, our people live in the commotion, some people have lost their Muslim religion, conscience and honor, and try to take advantage of a difficult period of our people to achieve their personal intentions. Therefore, they are engaged in various sabotage acts, they want to divide and destroy our people. They want to put our people, who are already in a bad situation, into the vicious cycle.

Our today's history is in front of your eyes. I am not going to talk all about it in details.

The only thing that I want to say is that our grief is doubled. Usually when the country is subjected to enemy attacks, people become closer and forget all the evil and hatred to stand in front of the enemy together.

But, unfortunately, our internal enemies do more harm to the people of Azerbaijan than external enemies do. They have divided our people to various groups and tribes, and they have made an effort to split our country, independent Azerbaijan. As a result of this we have subjected to defeat, and as a result of this, Armenian armed forces have occupied our lands.

Let us speak frankly, Azerbaijanis are heroic and brave people. The Azerbaijani people are not helpless people that Armenian aggressors could occupy our lands. I do not agree with the opinion that our people were powerless, but they were strong. No! We have just split ourselves from inside. Our inside enemies helped Armenian aggressors, and they showed much hostility to our people.

Thanks to God in the last two years, as a result of our policy and measures taken, we expose the subversive forces, and our country, society is cleaned of such people. But the more we carry out this cleansing, the more our foreign enemies try to make our country kneel down profiting by betrayal. They try to take away our independence and want to make us slaves and colony.

No! I say you today and I vow in the house of God that we shall never let our independence vanish! Each Azerbaijanian must understand and know it. We can not be colony any more; we can not be a slave any more. We have become free; the Azerbaijani people must live free. But some traitors inside of our country want to destroy our independence again preferring their private interests to the interest of the people, our national interest and traditions. We shall not let it happen! Processes going in the recent two years are in front of your eyes, you see that we prevent this and we will do it further.

They wanted to destroy Azerbaijan many times in that period. Azerbaijan was split in June, 1993. You witnessed this, and eventually the civil war began. Imagine, Armenian armed forces were attacking on the one hand; civil war had begun in Azerbaijan on the other. Might Azerbaijan live in such condition? We saved our people. They wanted to make coup d'état in October of the last year, but we prevented it. Some of the organizers were arrested but others escaped. But they did not give up. Some fled to one country, others to another, but most of them gathered in Moscow. They gathered strength, and again tried to make a coup in March of this year. They tried to kill the president of Azerbaijan, tried to make a terror. But we prevented this.

You know that recently we have found and arrested those enemies who ran away and hid. People who encroached on our republic and wanted to destroy the independence of Azerbaijan were exposed and they will all stand before the court. They have been found. Some of them have not been caught yet, but they will be caught too. But those hidden, they have been caught and exposed, and will respond before the court.

A month after we averted a coup attempt in March, the same forces began to prepare a new coup. A week ago we arrested a group of senior officers and generals. They chose the path of a coup attempt in Azerbaijan. General Vahid Musaev, General Rafik Agayev, General Shahin Musayev, some colonels and others have already been exposed.

Who are the people do these actions? They are the forces that for the sake of their personal ambitions located inside of us but chose the opposition, and hiding out in Azerbaijan. They are-Mutallibov, Rahim Gaziev, Surat Huseynov, their helpers i.e. people who serve them, they want to embed people in a difficult situation.

You heard that they wanted to destroy the bridge in Sabunchu district. You know, taking the opportunity, I want to say that when I worked as the head of Azerbaijan at that time, during a year and a half, I mobilized builders to construct that bridge. Why did we build the bridge in Sabunchu district? Perhaps older people remember that train used to block the way to the airport. Do you remember? Of course it was impeding the safety of the road. We invested great resources for the settlement of traffic. It is me who started and finished the construction of that bridge. I did it for my people, for Baku, for citizens of Baku. The length of the bridge is 600 metres. They laid under the bridge so many explosives to destroy the bridge, the buildings and people around and eventually to kill Heydar Aliyev.

You see, it is impossible to imagine the highest degree of treachery. You see, how big the boundary of the treachery is. All this have been prevented. I say again, a new group which tried to make a coup and terror was prevented, is prevented and will be prevented. Let you and all citizens of our nation know: we are on the way of justice. We want to save our people from misfortunes. I spend all my effort, strength as a President and I will spend them till the last minutes of my life. No terrorists, no saboteurs, no criminal and no traitors will be able to avoid us from this way!

After all, I am a man, I have my life, I live, and I am alive person. Sometimes I wonder what it's all in my life. There were cases when they wanted to kill me, make terror against me and wanted me to drown. You know my life and my biography. What misfortunes happened to me in Moscow after I resigned in 1987. They wanted to arrest and destroy me there, but they could not. I came here, they wanted to strangle me here, but could not. I went and lived in the outskirts place in Nakhichevan, they wanted to strangle there, but could not. It is already two years that I have come here by the will of the people. I have not come here myself, I have come with the the will of the people. And how it happens that such traitors, terrorists cannot achieve their desires? God protects!

My dear, therefore I am confident. I am sure that God protected, protects and will protect me for my loyalty, morality to my people. I consider the greatest honor and duty to serve my people, Azerbaijani Muslims. It is the meaning of my life. My life does not have another meaning. I have lived so, I live so and I will live so!

I said that along the history Islam religion was, is and will be support to the life of Azerbaijanis, Muslims. Today, I congratulate you on the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. I want to express my confidence that we will always rely on this support. Everybody should try to unite our people and become closer in this period. Azerbaijanis, Azerbaijani Muslims should understand that now we are in the most complex and decisive stage of our life. Therefore, we must unite to prevent foreign enemies, forces who want to take away our independence, to unmask their slaves who serve them by betraying in Azerbaijan.

I invite all Azerbaijani people; all Azerbaijani citizens to the unity, on the Birthday of Prophet Mohammed and I wish you all the happiness!

Translated from "Azerbaijan" newspaper, August 19, 1995