12 December – Memorial day of Heydar Aliyev, the national leader of Azerbaijani people!
December 12 marks the death anniversary of a great person, political figure and Azerbaijan’s national leader Heydar Aliyev, who passed away 17 years ago.
Heydar Aliyev, who devoted his life to prosperity and well being of his nation, holds a special place in the history of Azerbaijan.
A talented politician and public figure Heydar Aliyev demonstrated his ability as a national leader and became a legend even when he was alive. Heydar Aliyev has done unparalleled works for his nation during his ruling over the country during the Soviet period and as the president of an independent Azerbaijan.
Heydar Aliyev, who assumed the leadership of the country during the most difficult of times at the request of his nation, gave great confidence to the people and laid the foundation for a country with the strong economic development.
He participated in the most complex and contradictory historical processes in the world without losing hismself control in difficult situations, appreciating geopolitical changes that could dramatically affect people. It is no coincidence that Heydar Aliyev was always referred to as the founder of contemporary Azerbaijan. He created a new milestone in the modern history of Azerbaijan.
Heydar Aliyev was a unique leader, who gained the love and respect of millions of people through his bright ideas and genuine works. He will remain with us eternally through his ideas and the works he accomplished for the future of Azerbaijan.
Heydar Aliyev was born in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan, on May 10, 1923. He became deputy chairman of the Committee of State Security under the Azerbaijan’s Cabinet of Ministers in 1964, and became the head of the republic after being elected to the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan as the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan in July 1969.
Heydar Aliyev was elected a member of Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Soviet Union in December 1982, and, being appointed to the post of the First Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the USSR, became one of the leaders of the USSR.
In October 1987, Aliyev resigned from his post in protest against the policies pursued by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev himself.
After the tragedy on 20 January 1990 in Baku by the soviet troops, Heydar Aliyev demanded punishment for the organizers and executors of the crime committed against Azerbaijani’s people. To protest against the hypocritical policy of the USSR leadership and the conflict that accrued in NagornoKarabakh, he left the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in July 1991.
After returning to Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev lived in Baku and then Nakhchivan, and was elected as the deputy to the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan in the same year. He held the post of Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan and Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 19911993. In 1992, Heydar Aliyev was elected as the chairman at the constituent congress of the New Azerbaijan Party in Nakhchivan.
As a result of extreme governmental crisis in May-June 1993, Azerbaijani people wanted to bring Heydar Aliyev to power. So, he was elected as the Chairman of Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan. He came to power as the president of Azerbaijan on July 24, 1993 approved by the parliament - the Milli Mejlis. Heydar Aliyev was elected president of Azerbaijan in a nationwide vote on October 3, 1993, and was re-elected in 1998. During the presidency of Heydar Aliyev, foreign policy of Azerbaijan was rebuilt and transformed into balanced policy. The bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and other countries, as well as cooperation with international organizations, particularly Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Arab World countries started to deepen. Heydar Aliyev’s visit to Saudi Arabia in 1994 opened new opportunities for the development of bilateral relations. During the visit, two countries signed the first General Agreement on the economy, trade, investment, technology, culture, youth and sports.
Only after National Leader Heydar Aliyev’s return to the power by virtue of the insistent demand of the people political stability was established, over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was achieved cease-fire between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia; large-scale economic reforms began in the country. In virtue of this, the financial situation of the country stabilized, volume of investments attracted to the economy increased year by year, better quality of welfare of people was gained.
Heydar Aliyev was the founder of current industry potential of Azerbaijan Republic in 1970-1980. After return to the power in 1993 National Leader Heydar Aliyev began to carry out the measures related to reviving oil-gas industry - the locomotive of Azerbaijani economy. New oil strategy implemented since 1994 played a conclusive role in integration of Azerbaijan into world economy and attraction of foreign investment to the country pursuant to the decisive policy of Heydar Aliyev.
Integration of Azerbaijan into world economic system and country’s energy security was established in virtue of the signature of “Contract of the Century” on September 20, 1994 in Baku. Under “Contract of the Century” 11 companies from 8 counties including Saudi Arabia’s Delta Nimir Company become shareholders.
Exploitation of 1996 Baku-Novorossiysk, 1999 Baku-Supsa pipelines, signature of the agreement on construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Jeyhan main export oil pipeline, diversification of export routes was achieved to export Azerbaijani oil to world market.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Jeyhan main export oil pipeline is the greatest success of Heydar Aliyev’s oil strategy. Formerly, though some people didn’t believe realization of this pipeline, and called it a legend, he was sure the project would gain victory. Together with this, in order to ensure export of Azerbaijani gas to the western markets the construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline started in initiative of the Heydar Aliyev.
Development of the infrastructure is one of the important directions of social economic policy determined by Heydar Aliyev. Equal development of international and transit corridors and roads, interdistrict, city and district road transport infrastructure, as well as rapid integration of national transport system to world communication was in the focus of implemented transport policy. The TRACECA, North-South and INOGEYT Program Projects were carried out to improve international transport system Transport Corridor.
The International Conference on reconstruction of “Great Silk Road” was organized successfully by the participation and sup- port of some structures of European Union in Baku, in September 1998. The events covered the representatives of 32 countries. The Main Many-sided Agreement on International Transport on development of TRASEKA - the Euro-Caucasus-Asia transit corridor was signed by 12 countries of Europe and Asia on 8 September, 1998. Just pursuant to prompt transport policy of Heydar Aliyev the volume of transit load passing through territory of Azerbaijan increased rapidly.
Projects initiated by Heydar Aliyev are now being implemented by President Ilham Aliyev. In 2018 TAP and the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) successfully completed their connection with the final golden weld, which physically connected the two pipelines. TAP will transport natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan to Europe. The 878 km long pipeline will connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.
Azerbaijani National leader Heydar Aliyev died on December 12, 2003, but the memory of the politician is still alive to this day. Heydar Aliyev was a unique leader, who gained the love and respect of millions of people through his bright ideas and genuine work. He will remain forever in the memory and hearts of the people as positive changes in their lives are directly associated with the name of the national leader and his farsighted policy. Every year, the people of Azerbaijan and all Azerbaijanis living
around the world commemorate his cherished memory. Heydar Aliyev lives and will live eternally because he has always been associated with strong bonds with the people, which were the source of his strength and power. His immortal ideas and wise policy was successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev. Under this farsighted policy, Azerbaijan is rapidly developing and gaining more reputation in the world day by day. The process of negotiations initiated by Heydar Aliyev on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict completed as a result of lham Aliyev’s prudent policy and Azerbaijan has restored its territorial integrity.
(The author Shahin Abdullayev is Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia)