Süleyman Demirel

Former President of the Republic of Türkiye

Dear Heydar Aliyev, my friend, my brother, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. We have known him for a long time. I have great love, respect, and admiration for him. This is based on his personal qualities, his services to the Azerbaijani nation and people, and the work he has done for the sake of the Azerbaijani state and its independence. Heydar Aliyev whom I know is an Azerbaijani patriot, as well as a Turkish patriot. He knows very well the past and the future of the great Turkish community. He knows well that every independent state in this community is a brother. One nation, different states. The peoples of Türkiye and Azerbaijan are fraternal nations, one nation. We are two friendly and fraternal states.

Dear Heydar Aliyev entered the political scene at the most difficult time for Azerbaijan. In the 1960s and 1980s, Heydar Aliyev made a great contribution to the development of Azerbaijan. Some people, politicians serve their country, but there comes a day when such people are greatly needed. As if, you will think “what will be the fate of this country?” without this person. For example, if Churchill had not been in the leadership of England in 1939, how would the course of history have changed?! Churchill was 65 years old and there were many politicians in England at that time. But he was the one who was needed.

Dear Heydar Aliyev came back to power in June 1993. Remember this time. Azerbaijan declared its independence. There was confusion in the country. After that, Abulfaz Elchibey could not create stability. Confusion arose again in Azerbaijan: instead of celebrating independence, people were in a struggle for power. In such a situation, a man should have appeared and said “stop!”. The Azerbaijani people really needed Heydar Aliyev. Heydar Aliyev did not come on his own and took the power. He was invited to this high position by the people of Azerbaijan. And during the next 10 years, Azerbaijan lived in stability. I am not going to reduce the impact of the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and make it insignificant. I want to say that when Heydar Aliyev came to the leadership, events in Karabakh had already taken their toll. Over the past 10 years, there have been two ways to resolve this issue: the first is to continue the war, use up all the resources of Azerbaijan, devastate the country, or achieve peace, rather a ceasefire, in order to prevent bloodshed and gain some time. I think the best way has been chosen.

In this trip, which further strengthens the bonds binding us and reflects the desire to establish cooperation between our nations, apart from official meetings, we had a sincere one-on-one exchange of views on all issues with my dear friend and brother, honorable President Heydar Aliyev. Honorable Aliyev’s clear understanding of various issues and his substantial, valuable opinions have illuminated our path. The fact that he is wholeheartedly attached to the ideal of Azerbaijan has a positive effect on us, just as it inspires his nation.

A democratic system will be established in brotherly Azerbaijan under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev. The longstanding friendship between our countries has created a deep sense of trust in each other and we keep in touch and meet. I am especially pleased to express these thoughts in the presence of Heydar Aliyev, who emerged from difficult life trials with pride and unwavering will and is a symbol of loyalty in friendship.

Everything that exists in Azerbaijan was created thanks to the services of Heydar Aliyev. One of the most important issues that Heydar Aliyev brought to Azerbaijan is lasting stability. By achieving a ceasefire, the country was able to deal with other affairs, internal stability was restored, economic development and construction work began.

One of the greatest deeds done by Heydar Aliyev is the establishment of stability and order in the country. It was not an easy task. Assassination plots were being prepared against Heydar Aliyev. However, the most important thing for the Azerbaijani people, for my brothers, is the raising flag of an independent state. Once raised flag never falls! The independence of Azerbaijan is strong and eternal. Heydar Aliyev, risking his life, put an end to the fraternal conflict in Azerbaijan.

Heydar Aliyev brought democratic elections to Azerbaijan. Democracy is not an easy matter. It is a very difficult process to transition from a communist Marxist system to a market economy and democracy. Heydar Aliyev laid the foundation for this process. He is the author of the necessary reforms. Heydar Aliyev introduced Azerbaijan to the world. Azerbaijan is an equal member of prestigious international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, OSCE, and OIC. Azerbaijan is known all over the world.

Heydar Aliyev is the architect of the “contract of the century”, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline project. This is a big event. The wealth under the soil will serve the welfare of the people of Azerbaijan. Just saying that “we have rich natural resources” will do nothing. What is important is to use these rich resources to improve the financial well-being of the people.

Honorable Heydar Aliyev has established strong relations with Türkiye and other neighbors – Georgia, Russia, and Iran, and has established close relations with Ukraine and Turkic-speaking countries in Central Asia. Azerbaijan occupies an important place in the CIS.

There is a very good collaborative relationship between Azerbaijan and the United States. The position taken by President Heydar Aliyev during the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq is also very insightful.

In today’s world, one must be strong in order to play an important role in the international world. A state experiencing internal political and economic problems cannot play a decisive role in world politics. Both Türkiye and Azerbaijan must be strong internally. Both Türkiye and Azerbaijan occupy a very important strategic position in the modern world from a geographical and political point of view.

I highly appreciate the current relations between Türkiye and Azerbaijan. I want to emphasize this: no matter who comes to power in Türkiye, relations between these two friends and brothers will always be good. I’m sure of it. Because these relationships have deep roots. People stand behind those relations. Who is closer to Türkiye than Azerbaijan, and to Azerbaijan closer than Türkiye?!

Dear Heydar Aliyev’s coming to the leadership of Azerbaijan in 1993 is a chance for the country. The value of people should be known not after their departure, but in time, when they serve the people. It’s too late to appreciate the people after their departure from the office. The people of Azerbaijan are well aware of the worth and value of Heydar Aliyev.

Our long-standing friendship with Heydar Aliyev has expanded and strengthened since the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev is one of the most famous statesmen not only in Azerbaijan but also in the entire Turkic world.

Dear Heydar Aliyev is a well-known person in the world. Whichever door he knocks on, that door opens. He talks to Chirac when he wants, to Bush when he wants, and with whom he wants. Azerbaijan is genuinely represented in the world.

There is no doubt that the wise leadership of the great statesman, my dear brother, President Heydar Aliyev played an important role in raising Azerbaijan to its current level. The characteristics, talent, and experience of my brother Heydar Aliyev as a true statesman largely contributed to the acceleration of the democratization process in Azerbaijan and the close integration of this country into the world community.