*** ----> Azerbaijan celebrates 106th anniversary of Independence Day | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Azerbaijan celebrates 106th anniversary of Independence Day


Every May 28, the people of Azerbaijan celebrate its İndependence Day. On May 28, 1918 the first parliamentary democracy in the Muslim world - Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was founded with the adoption of Declaration on Independence. The establishment of the ADR- – predecessor of the modern Republic of Azerbaijan was a historic event for Azerbaijan in many regards: It was the first democratic republic in the Muslim East.

For the first time in Islamic world, Azerbaijan granted suffrage to women. This happened in 1918, which was way ahead of many western countries. 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.

ADR succeeded in implementing many progressive reforms in Azerbaijan, despite the geopolitical challenges. The newly formed Republic made education a primary goal and consequently the Baku State University was founded.

As stated in the Declaration of Independence, establishment of friendly relations with all nations, especially with neighboring states was determined as one of the foreign policy priorities of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

The first major breakthrough in diplomatic relations came when the parliamentary delegation of Azerbaijan visited Paris with the main goal to gain international recognition for Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

As the result of strenuous activity of Azerbaijan representatives, unanimous de-facto recognition of the independence of Azerbaijan was attained on January 11, 1920 and the Azerbaijani delegation received an invitation to the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference.

The Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan operated in a tense and complicated socio-political situation for only 23 months. The Bolsheviks invasion of April 1920 put an end to the independence of ADR.

However, the idea of independence was not defeated, and in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Empire, Azerbaijan again declared its independence. As the successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the Republic of Azerbaijan restored its independence in 1991.

For our nation this year’s Impendence Day is especially remarkable as we will celebrate it with restored territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders. In 2020 Azerbaijan put an end to nearly 30 years of occupation by Armenia of almost 20% of its territories. All Azerbaijani cities and villages have been razed to the ground by Armenia during the occupation. Armenia deliberately vandalized, desecrated and pillaged our cultural and religious sites.

More than 60 mosques were destroyed by Armenia. Mosques were turned into cowshed and pigsty. Now there is a huge task before us - reconstruction of completely destroyed cities and villages, all cultural and religious heritage sites in the liberated territories. Smart city, smart village and green energy concepts will be applied in the process of reconstruction.

We invite companies from friendly Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman to join the large-scale reconstruction in the liberated territories. Today the Republic of Azerbaijan as independent, sovereign and democratic country brings into the reality the aspirations and ideals of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic with its effective management, socio-economic and human capital development as well as its growing role and prestige in international arena.

The current Republic of Azerbaijan is a reliable international partner and initiator of large-scale 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. 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 and thus relations between Azerbaijan and member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference began expanding.

It should be noted that, according to the decision taken with the support of the member states of the organization at the 15th Islamic Summit held in Gambia in May 2024, the next 16th Organization of Islamic Cooperation Islamic Summit will be held in the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2026. Nowadays, Azerbaijan is a country that pursues policy of establishing mutually beneficial cooperation with all states, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Bahrain and builds its relationships based on the principles of international law.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kingdom of Bahrain recognized Azerbaijan’s independence on Dec. 30, 1991. The relations between the two countries have developed gradually during the last 33 years. The first visit of the National Leader of the Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to Saudi Arabia in 1994 opened new opportunities for the development of bilateral relations and the two countries signed the first General Agreement on the economy, trade, investment, technology, culture, youth and sports.

The two countries maintain the Azerbaijan-Saudi Joint Commission on Cooperation, which meets to allow both states’ officials to target expansion in the economy, investments, technology, trade, culture, sports and youth. The first meeting between the two countries was held in 2001 in Baku and hosted reciprocally in later years.

The seventh meeting was convened in Baku in December 2022 and resulted in some agreements aimed at developing economic partnerships and increasing trade and the growth of business in various sectors.

As a result of the targeted policy carried out by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan has achieved high socio-economic development and solid socio-political stability.

The glorious victory we won in the Patriotic War recognized our country as the strongest country in the Caucasus. As a result of the successful foreign policy of the head of state, the reputation of our country at the international level is increasing day by day.

During the last 4 years, Azerbaijan has successfully chaired the Non-Aligned Movement, which is the largest international institution after the UN and has left a successful legacy to the next chairpersons. Our country has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to organize prestigious events of a global nature at a high level.

It is known to the whole world community that Azerbaijan, which has achieved high development indicators, has a modern infrastructure to organize such huge events and is a stable country in terms of security.

The selection of Azerbaijan to host one of the world’s largest and most important interstate events, COP29, in 2024 is another solemn victory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

This is the biggest success of our foreign policy after our chairmanship of the NonAligned Movement and our membership in the Security Council. It should be noted that Azerbaijan has joined the fight against global climate change by being a party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Our country aims to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases by 35% by 2030 compared to 1990.

After 2030, a more ambitious target has been set, which consists of reducing the amount of greenhouse gases by 40% by 2050. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan has declared the freed lands of our country as a “Green Energy” zone. It is planned to turn these areas into “Net zero emission” zones by 2050.

President Ilham Aliyev’s far-sighted and wise policy, Azerbaijan has liberated its occupied territory. With the liberation of the territories of Azerbaijan occupied for almost 30 years, the country has begun the process of restoration and reconstruction of these territories.

At present, huge reconstruction works are being carried out in these territories, including the restoration of our historical, cultural and religious heritage, which was destroyed during the decades. It provided new possible opportunities for companies of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to take part in the restoration and reconstruction process in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan.

(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)