By Vafa Ismayilva
President Ilham Aliyev has said that Azerbaijan will restore its ancestral lands of Karabakh in a short period of time following the country’s victory in the 44-day-war with Armenia.
Aliyev made the remarks during his visit to Shusha on January 14, for the first time since the city’s liberation on November 8.
"The great return begins. All work has begun. I am sure that just as we drove the enemy out of our lands in a short time – in a matter of 44 days – we will restore our ancestral lands of Karabakh in a short time. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!"
Aliyev reminded that he visited Shusha 39 years ago - first on 14 January.
“Here I am again today, on 14 January. This time I came as the Commander-in-Chief of the victorious Azerbaijani Army, the triumphant Azerbaijani Army. I have come as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army that broke the enemy's back,” he said.
The president said that Azerbaijan won the war at the expense of the lives and blood of its martyrs.
As part of his visit to Shusha, Aliyev laid a foundation stone for the Fuzuli-Shusha highway on the 27th km of the Ahmadbayli-Fuzuli-Shusha highway, as well as an airport in Fuzuli region.
The president said that after the liberation of Shusha on November 8, the process of restoring the city and all its historic buildings began and that attempts to Armenianize Shusha have been stopped.
“For 30 years, they tried to Armenianize Shusha, but they failed. This is an alien city to them. If they ever considered it their own, they would not have brought it to this condition. The real owners of Shusha are back, we are back. Shusha is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” Aliyev said.
He harshly criticized Armenia's destruction of Azerbaijan’s religious monuments, including about 70 mosques.
Speaking about Armenia’s desecration and destruction of Azerbaijani mosques, Aliyev said that the country destroying the mosques cannot be a friend to Muslim countries.
“I have said that Armenia cannot be friends with Muslim countries. A country that has brought mosques to this condition cannot be friends with Muslim states. This is hypocrisy, and viewing Armenia as a friendly country is hypocrisy and ungodliness. How can leaders of Muslim countries be friends with a country that has destroyed mosques? Let them answer. Let them answer to their own people, not to me. Can they be friends with a country that has destroyed mosques and put cows there? Let their people answer this,” Aliyev said this after visiting the Saatli Mosque in Shusha.
He invited all those believing in the friendship between Armenia and Muslim countries to visit Azerbaijan’s liberated territories.
“If anyone still believes in this, let them come to Shusha, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil and other liberated lands of ours and see what Armenian leaders have done to Muslim mosques, what they have done to the temples that are sacred to every Muslim. They have destroyed and desecrated them, kept pigs and cows in them, wrote obscenities on the walls of our mosques. Can such a country be friends with Muslim states? Of course not!” he said.
Aliyev stressed that Azerbaijan will continue to protect temples belonging to all religions.
“Monuments of all religions are protected in our country - churches, synagogues, as well as the Armenian church in the centre of Baku are protected and repaired by the state.”
He recalled his visit to liberated Zangilan in late December 2020, adding that against the background of a destroyed mosque there he had turned to international organizations urging them to prepare their reports on the situation not in their cabinets, but in Azerbaijan's liberated lands.
Aliyev also spoke about repairs in Shusha’s Yukhari Govharagha Mosque without Azerbaijan’s permission.
“They allegedly renovated the Yukhari Govharagha Mosque with a foreign company to create an image. We do not need this renovation. This renovation is a symbol of hypocricy, this pursues the end of creating an image that the Armenian leadership is repairing mosques.”
Referring to the foreign company involved in the repair work, Aliyev said: “They came to our lands illegally without our permission, stayed there for months, allegedly repaired this mosque in collaboration with the criminal junta of Armenia. We do not need such repairs.”
Aliyev stressed that Azerbaijan will repair and rebuild all the Armenian-destroyed mosques.
Making a speech in front of the destroyed mausoleum of Azerbaijani poet Molla Panah Vagif, Aliyev said that it was also a victim of Armenian vandalism.
“They have destroyed our mosques, graves, historical sites and all our buildings. This mausoleum was also destroyed by the contemptible enemy. In this part of the mausoleum, there were patterns. Pictures of that are available. All of that has been demolished and looted, and the mausoleum is destroyed,” he said.
“The mausoleum of Molla Panah Vagif, built on the initiative of great leader Heydar Aliyev, was inaugurated exactly 39 years ago – on 14 January 1982. I remember that historic day. Because at that time, along with my father, I was standing right here.”
The president stressed that former Armenian leaders Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharyan were perpetrators of the destructions on liberated territories.
Furthermore, Aliyev touched upon attempts by separatist forces in Armenia to disrupt the November 10 peace deal, saying that any such attempt will be punished.
Commenting about the restoration of Shusha, Aliyev said:
“We are already starting the reconstruction of Shusha. A master plan is being prepared. All buildings have been inspected. Shusha will become one of the most beautiful cities in the world as the cultural capital of Azerbaijan. In fact, it has always been the case. The enemy has simply destroyed all our historical sites. But we will restore them. We will return their real appearance to them. The people of Azerbaijan will live in Shusha forever. Shusha is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!”
Aliyev said that Vagif Poetry Days and the Khari Bulbul festival will be restored in Shusha in 2021.
Touching upon the six-week-war that started with Armenia’s attacks on Azerbaijani civilians and positions and which lasted between September 27 and November 10, 2020, Aliyev said that justice prevailed during the war.
“Our cause was one of justice. Armenia's cause is a cause of aggression. Justice has prevailed at the expense of the strength, at the expense of our resolve, at the expense of our policies and at the expense of our unity! Kudos to the people of Azerbaijan! Long live Azerbaijan!” he said.
Aliyev noted that the construction of the so-called parliament building was left unfinished in Nagorno-Karabakh as the true owners of the region are back to native lands.
“The parliament went to hell and the status went to hell. Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” Aliyev stressed.
Azerbaijan’s Shusha city, along with 300 villages, city centers, settlements were liberated from the Armenian occupation during the Second Karabakh war, known as Patriotic War in Azerbaijan.
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