By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan holds an independent policy, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on March 19.
President Aliyev was delivering a speech on the occasion of Novruz Bayram, the country's favorite national holiday.
"Independence for us is what matters most and what we prize most," the president emphasized.
“The Azerbaijani people have lived for centuries as part of other countries, empires, but they were able to maintain their national peculiarities. First of all, we were able to maintain our national values, holidays, literature, art, native language, ourselves as a nation. Today we are free.”
The Azerbaijani people are the masters of their own destiny, the president said. “Current realities show that only in a period of independence, can our people achieve success. If we review our history, the current period is a period of rapid development. We will continue ensuring our independent life. We will ensure prosperity for our people."
President Aliyev said that of course, as far as Azerbaijan is strengthened, pressure on the country has also increased.
"Not everyone likes our independent policy,” the president noted. “Therefore, the pressure on our country has increased and pressure has been used. As a result, today some foreign circles hold an open campaign against Azerbaijan. We are ready for this. In fact, this campaign has never stopped.”
Just on the eve of important international events, this campaign became uglier, the president said.
“We faced this three years ago - in 2012 on the eve of the Eurovision song contest. Today we see this again on the eve of the first European Games. This is an anti-Azerbaijani campaign in a coordinated form. It is managed from one or more centers. It aims at tarnishing, discrediting our country, casting a shadow on our business and seeks to present Azerbaijan as a backward, non-democratic, non-free country. Of course, all this is based on a lie. Therefore, neither the people of Azerbaijan, nor the world community believes it to be true.”
President Aliyev said that the Azerbaijani people see everything.
"Recent development, the improvement of our cities, the economic and social development of the country, the growth of our international credibility are available,” the president said.
“At the same time, our business is not a secret for the world community. The numerous events, exhibitions, conferences, presentation of Azerbaijani culture in foreign countries also create conditions to provide the international community with full information about Azerbaijan. But despite this, we see that so-called experts, politicians, former state officials, media outlets have declared a kind of Cold War against Azerbaijan. I would like to reiterate that all these attempts are futile and cannot lead to anything. There is no power in the world that is able to influence the will of the Azerbaijani people."
President Aliyev said that all freedoms are ensured in Azerbaijan.
"A free society has been formed in Azerbaijan,” the president stressed. “Everyone is free. Free press has been ensured. There are no restrictions on the Internet. Free internet is available. The freedom of assembly has been ensured. As opposed to some countries, the freedom of conscience and the freedom of religion have been fully ensured. But just look at the situation in those countries, where some circles are trying to blame us. Just yesterday, hundreds of protesters were beaten, insulted and arrested in the center of Europe. In other places, people are strangled, shot and killed. And no one is responsible for this."
“Where are those non-governmental organizations, which accuse us? the president argued. “Why are they silent? Why do they not speak up? Why do they not blame these countries? Do they lack courage or are we in the policy of double standards?! Perhaps, a bit of both. Why have international organizations failed to disseminate statements? Why aren't resolutions adopted? It is difficult to get answers to these questions.”
“I openly ask these questions at numerous meetings with foreign colleagues, as well as with the heads of international organizations,” the president said. “Perhaps, such questioning has led to certain powers to attempt to exert pressure onto Azerbaijan? Unfortunately, hypocrisy, double standards, discrimination, racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia, prevail in the world politics today, not so much international law. These are today's realities."
"Therefore, we must be ready for this and we are ready. We are strengthening and developing our country. I would like to reiterate that all freedoms, including political freedom, freedom of conscience, economic freedom are available in Azerbaijan. Today, Azerbaijan is an exemplary country in terms of both economic development and inter-religious dialogue.”
President Aliyev said that today everything is burning in the fire, namely, the Middle East, Europe and the CIS area.
“Might it be war, or ethnic confrontations, religious tensions or mutual accusations, all is unfolding,” the president said. "You can see that representatives of all nationalities and religions live like one family in Azerbaijan. This is our policy, people's order."
"Today, Azerbaijan has become an important country for the world. The number of countries supporting us on the international arena is growing steadily. Azerbaijan was elected to the UN Security Council - the most influential organization in the world with the support of 155 countries. Let those countries trying to blame us, be elected with the support of 155 countries. We will see whether they can succeed," he noted.
“That is the reality,” the president said. “Of course, such injustice, double standards, hypocrisy and political incivility upset the Azerbaijani people. However, this will never affect our will. The European Games are just an excuse. As if there are some external forces believing that we do not deserve this, despite the fact that we have taken a great responsibility on our shoulders. It is very difficult to prepare for these games in just two and a half years. These games will be held at the level of the Olympic Games. Seven years are given to prepare for the Olympic Games. We are doing this in just two and a half years. We are doing this with a low-budget."
President Aliyev explained that demonstration in central Europe kicked off over the construction of a building.
"The funds, we have spent on the preparation of the European Games, have been spent there on a single building,” the president said. “Where is ‘Transparency International’? Why do they keep silent? There is one infrastructure facility associated with transport in Europe. It has been built for ten years. They spent twice as much than we spent on the preparation for the European Games. The construction has not been completed yet. Why does nobody talk about this? Why does nobody write about this? These are rhetorical questions.”
“But we have to ask these questions and we ask them because we stand for justice,” the president said. “Justice must be everywhere - in a society, family and international relations. If justice is violated, then everything is violated. Faith is being undermined. It is like a new system of values which is being formed in the world.
"There is an unfair approach instead of justice, inequality instead of equality, hypocrisy and lie instead of truth. We are fighting against this. Of course, Azerbaijan is a small country. But we have enough power to make our presence felt and enough power to influence current processes in the region and on the continent," president Aliyev stressed.