105th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s Independence
By Shahin Abdullayev, Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Bahrain
On 28 May, Azerbaijanis worldwide celebrate the “Independence Day”. 105 years ago on this significant day, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) – predecessor of the modern Republic of Azerbaijan was proclaimed.
The establishment of the ADR was a historic event for Azerbaijan in many regards:
• It was the first democratic republic in the Muslim East. Declaration of Independence, which was adopted by this young republic on 28 May 1918, was an exemplary policy document, reflecting true principles of democracy and rule of law.
• For the first time in Islamic world, Azerbaijan granted suffrage to women. This happened in 1918, which was way ahead of many western countries. In comparison, several European countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg granted women right to vote in 1919, France in 1945.
• The first Parliament of Azerbaijan was established in 1918. Azerbaijani Parliament was a forum where representatives of many religious and ethnic groups could freely, indiscriminately and equally voice their opinions. The Parliament united members of different ethnicities: Azerbaijanis, Russians, Jews, Armenians and even one German.
The territory of ADR in 1918 was much larger than the current territory of Azerbaijan. It consisted of 114 thousand km².
In comparison, Azerbaijan’s current territory is only 86.6 thousand km².
ADR succeeded in implementing many progressive reforms in Azerbaijan, despite the geopolitical challenges.
However, independence of ADR came to an end after 2 years. In April 1920, Red Army entered Azerbaijan.
However, Azerbaijani people never forgot the ideals and principles of democracy taught by their ancestors and still celebrate 28 May as their National Day.
Modern Republic of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan was able to restore its independence on 18 October 1991, after almost 71 years.
Today, Azerbaijan is a member of many international and regional organizations, including UN, Council of Europe, OSCE and so on.
During 2012-2013, Azerbaijan was also a non-permanent member of UN Security Council.
Since October 2019, Azerbaijan has also been presiding Non-Aligned Movement, which consists of 120 countries.
This chairmanship has opened a new chapter in its international relations. Azerbaijan has also become a donor country.
Based on the reality of being part of the Islamic world, the Republic of Azerbaijan, from the first days of its sovereignty, sought to consolidate fraternal relations with brotherly Muslim countries.
Thus, relations between Azerbaijan and the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation began expanding. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Azerbaijan has allocated more than 10 million USD to World Health Organization, for combating coronavirus.
Azerbaijan has provided financial, medical and humanitarian assistance to more than 80 countries in their fight against COVID-19 pandemic and is committed to continuing this activity and has been the strong supporter of just distribution of vaccines among the world countries.
After the restoration of its territorial integrity in 2020, Azerbaijan proclaimed its green energy policy in its territories. It includes smart cities and smart villages.
The current Republic of Azerbaijan is a reliable international partner and initiator of largescale infrastructure, transport and energy projects in the South Caucasus.
Azerbaijan has become a key investment destination in the region for the past years, due to a number of factors, including abundant resources, favorable location, competitive cost of production and of course, friendly laws and hospitality of Azerbaijani people.
Due to its geographical position Azerbaijan became a principal transportation hub between East-West and North-South. Azerbaijan has built one of the biggest ports at the Caspian Sea and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway route has been realized.
These two projects serve to connect Caspian Sea region with Black Sea. Azerbaijan also continues to be the strong partner of EU, in particularly contributing to the energy security of the region.
In the recent decades, Azerbaijan has hosted many international events, such as Eurovision, Formula 1 Grand Prix races, European games, 2021 European Football Championship and many more.
The country also regularly provides scholarships for students from developing countries to pursue their higher education in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is developing today.
Today, our independent state is going through its most successful period. In its long history Azerbaijan has never been as strong as it is now. The reforms under way in Azerbaijan are contributing to the further development of our people.
The Azerbaijani state is built on a solid foundation. International authority, economic development, energy security, the implementation of infrastructure projects - all these are Azerbaijani realities.
The Azerbaijani leadership has elaborate and practical programs and development strategy on every single issue. Our modern national state built by Great Leader Heydar Aliyev, who said that “there is no Karabakh without Shusha, there is no Azerbaijan without Karabakh at all”, is now going through its new stage of development.
In a world of fast going complicated and contradictory geopolitical processes where confrontations and conflicts become sharper, our country now has an advantageous positon and the reputation of a winning state. Trusting its own economic might, Azerbaijan is successfully continuing restoration and construction work in the territories liberated from Armenian occupation.
The projects being implemented will shortly make these territories known in the world as a region of peace and cooperation.
The idea of national statehood founded by National Leader Heydar Aliyev organically united such important principles as real independence, sovereignty, adherence to national and moral values and modern development.
Our national state, which was built by the great leader and is based on the ideology of Azerbaijanism, is an ideological foundation for every member of society and world Azerbaijanis and a source of pride, which unites them around one idea, protects their interests and mobilizes them for protection and a common goal.
That is why, we can say with confidence that in addition to economic potential and military power, the greatness of every state is also measured with the unity and solidarity of people.
The 44-day Patriotic War visually demonstrated that the national and moral-ideological unity achieved in the years of independence is one of our most precious riches.
Great Leader Heydar Aliyev said: “We will leave these difficult days behind, the independent Republic of Azerbaijan will take its worthy place in the world community and every Azerbaijani citizen will declare with a feeling of great pride that he or she belongs to this independent state”.
Today, Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, our national flag, which is being waved in Shusha with pride, our national state, our independence and our sovereignty is a proud and logical result of our 30-year fight to take our worthy place among the peoples of the world.
It is our main duty to unite around Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to protect, immortalize and further develop our independent state.
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Daily Tribune)