The head of state and the first lady met with public representatives of the district.
Welcoming the representatives of the general public President Ilham Aliyev said: Welcome to Zangilan. After a long break, after 27 years of Armenian occupation, Zangilan has finally returned home, we have returned it. Our glorious Army heroically liberated the city of Zangilan and several villages from the invaders exactly a year ago, thus ending the 27-year occupation. So I say “Welcome” to you, because I have invited you to celebrate this wonderful date together here. But from now on, it will be the people of Zangilan who will say “Welcome” to me when I come here.
MP Imamverdi Ismayilov: Mr. President, thank you. Dear Mr. President, dear Mehriban khanim. If you would allow me, I would like to welcome you to Zangilan, to this charming corner of our ancient Zangazur. You have already freed us from being IDPs. Zangilan is a land of very fertile soil, beautiful forests, natural resources, ore deposits, rivers and natural plane tree forests, the second in the world and the first in Europe. The list goes on. But Mr. President, there was a time when we went to Horadiz, then to Jojug Marjanli and longed for our homeland from there. But look at the twist of destiny – whilst we could not come here by foot or car yesterday, we can now fly here by plane because of the modern airport. Thank you very much. Always be there for us. We have come to the Karabakh of our dreams. What we saw here has left our expectations far behind. Today, the spirit of our great leader, the historic personality of Heydar Aliyev is happy. Because the people of Zangilan do not and never will forget Heydar Aliyev's salvation mission. If it hadn’t been for the great historic figure, the people of Zangilan would have drowned in the Araz in 1993, the roads were closed on all sides and the people would have experienced the fate of another Khojaly. But look at the justice of fate. Heydar Aliyev became the savior of the people of Zangilan and you are the savior of Zangilan.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. Zangilan is indeed a land of enchanting nature. I first came to Zangilan at the end of last year, in December, and I fell in love with it. Magnificent mountains, green forests, rivers, climate – this is truly one of the most beautiful places in Azerbaijan, and our goal is to rebuild Zangilan. Because there is nothing left of the old Zangilan. As you can see, the loathsome enemy has destroyed almost all the buildings. There are several buildings left and the military was stationed in them. All the other buildings, all the buildings of the villages were destroyed so that we could not return here. But we have returned! Our glorious army raised the Azerbaijani flag in Zangilan exactly a year ago and drove the enemy out of these lands. After the liberation of Zangilan, our road to Gubadli was clear and Gubadli was liberated five days later. And then we accessed the Lachin corridor. When we accessed the Lachin corridor, the enemy knew that there was no point in resisting any further.
A new era is beginning for Zangilan now. The master plan of the city is being prepared. A foreign company has won the bidding, and I think that the master plan will be submitted in the coming months. Given all this natural beauty, a modern and beautiful city and villages will be built here. You are also aware that the first “Smart Village” project in all liberated lands was implemented in Zangilan district.
The foundation of Aghali village was laid in April. Today, before coming here, I got acquainted with the progress of work. Some buildings are ready and we will try to start relocating local residents to Zangilan early next year, perhaps even later this year.
Resident: Mr. President, many leading countries of the world are now studying the military model of Azerbaijan. The model itself is a historic model of Victory that has been included in textbooks. You as the savior of Karabakh and Zangazur, as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, have written your name in history in golden letters – as a historic figure who has made the Azerbaijani state, the Azerbaijani Army and the Azerbaijani people victorious.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.
Resident: You have created a historic miracle unprecedented in the 21st century. You are the author and architect of this Victory. This is why all of us, all the people of Azerbaijan love you very much.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. This is a victory for all of us, a victory of the Azerbaijani people. Because our people did not bow down during the occupation, did not come to terms with
that situation, did not forget about their native lands. Even young people who did not see these lands lived with the dream of liberating these lands, and they were the ones who were ready to die. It was those kids who were in the first rows – they were born after the occupation or perhaps were 5-10 years old during the occupation. In other words, this shows that our people were waiting for the holy day of Victory despite all the difficulties and sufferings, and believed that this day would come. We simply made effort to mobilize all our people and raise our young people in the spirit of patriotism. Of course, we have strengthened our army, strengthened our economy, enhanced our international standing and achieved what we wanted, achieved historical justice. We are here with you today. This is my fourth visit to Zangilan. I came here in December and we got acquainted with the situation. Then I came here in February, when we planted plane trees in the Basitchay reserve, most of which was destroyed by the Armenians. When I came here in April, the foundation of the airport was laid. I went there again this time and preparations have started for runway earthworks. As you know, times there was no airport in Zangilan in Soviet. But there will be not just an airport, but an international airport here, and Zangilan will become the transport and logistical center of our country. Because the Zangazur corridor passes through here, the railway and the Horadiz-Aghband highway are under construction. Recent events related to the opening of the Zangazur corridor show that we are achieving what we want. Although the Armenian side resisted it at the first stage, they have now agreed to it. Of course, to put it mildly, we have played a role here. Therefore, the issue of opening the highway is being resolved, the issue of the railway is being resolved. The deputy prime ministers of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia will meet again in Moscow today, and our position will be voiced there again. Thus, a modern logistical and transport center, cargo planes, passenger planes, railway junction, highways – the entire infrastructure will be built in Zangilan in parallel with the protection of nature, the protection of rivers. You know what the Armenians have done to the Okhchuchay. The Okhchuchay is a natural disaster zone. The analyses of water samples from there show that the amount of toxic substances exceeds the safety standard probably 10 to 20 times. We will clean all these rivers and the mining industry will develop here. The Vejnali gold deposit was illegally exploited by the Armenians together with foreign companies. We have started the process of suing those foreign companies and you will hear about that in the near future. Their attempts to evade this work are futile because everything is obvious. They were engaged in illegal work in another country, smuggled gold from here and sold it on world markets. We will bring those who were associated with them to justice. We have also involved international lawyers.
Work is already under way in the areas of tourism, agriculture, transport, logistics, environmental protection and, of course, the creation of suitable conditions for people. Aghali village is now under construction, and after the master plan of Zangilan city is approved, we will start construction work here as well. Zangilan will become a modern and important region of the country. I have no doubt that we will do this together with you and your advice will be appreciated. Because after the presentation of the master plan, the people should also express their opinion. Because you – the people who lived here – know exactly what was here before. Seeing this destruction, you probably remember what these places were like before.
Resident: Mr. President, it would be a sin if I didn’t remember that. There was a large Minjivan station in our Zangilan district. Various trains would come here in Soviet times – Baku-Gafan, Baku-Norashen, Baku-Minjivan. Those trains were our dreams. The people of these places planned their schedules in accordance with the schedule of those trains. You are now opening the railways of Azerbaijan to Zangazur and the world. Great trains will start coming to these places soon. These trains will connect Azerbaijan with the world. This shows your great resolve and determination.
President Ilham Aliyev: When I first came here, I went to Minjivan, where I addressed the people of Azerbaijan from the former railway station. Almost everything was destroyed there. There is nothing left of it. They took the rail track away a long time ago. They built anti-tank fortifications from those rails. The station building was also completely destroyed.
Resident: Mr. President, Mehriban khanim and you have visited every inch of the villages of Azerbaijan, Zangazur and Karabakh together. Most importantly, you know those villages, the ancient place names, you are restoring them, teaching us, and you are also restoring historical justice. This is a very important factor. Because these are forgotten moments in our history. We must restore them. That is why we express our deep gratitude to you.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much. There will be a road from here to Nakhchivan. From there to Turkey and further to Europe.
Honored Artist Almaz Orujova: Please allow me to express my deep and endless gratitude to you for presenting us with the sanctity, dignity and pride of this land, for allowing us the opportunity to keep our heads high.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.
Almaz Orujova: A while ago, I went to see my home.
President Ilham Aliyev: Where is it? Was your house here?
Almaz Orujova: Yes, you go a little further to the left and this was where our home was.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is the house destroyed?
Almaz Orujova: There is nothing left. There is only a fraction of it left. Some stones are still there. There is nothing that can replace these feelings, these sweet feelings, these memories. You have restored our dignity in the world. You have shown that you are a valuable leader of the Azerbaijani Army and the Azerbaijani people. Always be there for us, thank you. We do hope that you will always be at the head of this nation and this Army with your presence and good health.
Resident: Mr. President, Elnur told me that he did not bring the kamancha. Mehriban khanim, I said that it is impossible to come to Zangilan without the kamancha.
Honored Artist Elnur Ahmadov: I am greeting you in my native land of Zangilan. I am greeting Mehriban khanim from the bottom of my heart. I was born in this land. I fell in love with this art in Mammadbayli village of Zangilan district. May Allah protect you. I would like to express my special gratitude to Mehriban khanim for her special contribution to the integration of our mugham into the world.
Mr. President, together with the “Karabakh” mugham group, People's Artist Mansum Ibrahimov, my friends Elchin Hashimov and Kamran Karimov have performed in almost all countries of the world. But our biggest dream, the most prestigious stage in the world for us was the “Kharibulbul” festival held in Shusha in the Jidir Duzu plain with you and Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva in the audience. There was no better and more glorious day for us than that. Mr. President, dear Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, my biggest dream was to let the sound of my kamancha be heard in the village where I was born, in that house, albeit destroyed.
Resident: Let the sound of the kamancha be heard.
Elnur Ahmadov: I express my deep gratitude to you for creating these conditions for us.
Almaz Orujova sings mugham accompanied by Elnur Ahmadov.
Residents: Thank you.
Almaz Orujova: Thank you very much, Mehriban khanim.
President Ilham Aliyev: Hello, how are you? Do you know this person, Mehriban?
First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Hello, how are you? Is this Shahriyar Mammadyarov's father?
President Ilham Aliyev: He is the father of Shahriyar Mammadyarov.
First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Welcome.
President Ilham Aliyev: How is Shahriyar?
Hamid Mammadyarov: Thank you very much. Everything is fine, thank you.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.
Resident: Mr. President, I want to thank you too. For 27 years, we always discussed with friends and acquaintances that the anniversary of the occupation of Zangilan was coming, so how should we mark it? What event should we hold? We always experienced that grief and sorrow. Thank
you, today we are celebrating the first anniversary of the liberation of Zangilan. You recently mentioned that Zangilan is becoming a major transport corridor, which will have a huge impact on the development of the region. Today, the world's superpowers are fighting for transport corridors. You have done great things. All the people of Zangilan, all of Azerbaijan wish you the best of luck in this work. We always support you. We are with you. Good luck. Thank you.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. The date of the occupation has now been consigned to history. It has been erased forever. There is a new date now – 20 October.
Resident: Mr. President, on behalf of the youth and athletes of Zangilan, I would also like to express my deep gratitude to you for bringing us to this ancestral land that I had never seen before. May Allah help you in all this work.
Professor Adila Abbasova: Mr. President, thank you very much. We are in this beautiful land today. We are in Zangilan, the charming corner of our Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire, in golden Zangilan, in free Zangilan, in rich Zangilan. You have given us the joy of experiencing these feelings. We are looking at you with pride, we are talking to you. We are very excited. Allah has blessed us with these moments. I want to thank you on behalf of all the people of Zangilan. Mr. President, you are a great person who fulfills all the wishes of the Azerbaijani people. You are a great and victorious leader. We have never seen a statesman like you anywhere in the world. You made the impossible Karabakh issue possible during the 44-day war. You have forever written your name in Azerbaijan's victorious history. I am one of the survivors of our generation. My father also worked hard in Zangilan district and was the chairman of the executive authority for 14 years. I want to say that I spent my childhood here. You introduced Zangilan to the whole world. The Great Leader said about you: “I believe in him as much as I do in myself and I have great hopes for his future.” You are the President of every Azerbaijani. You have fulfilled your father's will, you have restored the dignity of the Azerbaijani people and turned Azerbaijan into a victorious state.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, thank you very much.
Adila Abbasova: I thought a lot about it and I think there is no other statesman in the world who has achieved such a victory in 44 days. That is why you deserve the greatest award in the world. Thank you very much.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much. We have known each other since Moscow. We participated in the civil society of Azerbaijanis, the Assembly of Azerbaijan back then.
Adila Abbasova: I saw your activity in Moscow. I have seen and heard a lot about you. I remember that after that society was established, the Great Leader showed interest in it. A congress of Azerbaijanis was held.
I wanted to say that the feelings of joy you have given to Azerbaijan should be specifically emphasized. I usually speak from my heart, perhaps I am a little excited but I speak from the heart. Mr. President, all the people of Azerbaijan love you from the bottom of their hearts. You deserve the biggest award in the world.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much. My greatest reward is to be with you here today.
Adila Abbasova: There is an expression that has become a source of national pride of the Azerbaijani people: Karabakh is Azerbaijan! Long live Azerbaijan! Kudos!
President Ilham Aliyev: Kudos to the people of Azerbaijan!
Adila Abbasova: Kudos to the people of Azerbaijan! Kudos to our Supreme Commander-in-Chief, President Ilham Aliyev!
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Resident: Mr. President, this is the father of the Hero of the Patriotic War, martyr Surkhay Nochuyev. You have given him an honorary title.
Martyr's father Abdul Nochuyev: During the 44-day war, we regularly watched your appeals to the people. Every time you listed the names of liberated territories, we were overjoyed. My son,
battalion commander, Captain Surkhay Nochuyev heroically died on the 44th day of the war in the battles for Shusha.
President Ilham Aliyev: May Allah rest his soul in peace.
Abdul Nochuyev: By your Order, you gave him the title of a Hero of the Patriotic War. Thank you for that. On 27 September 2021, there was a march with the participation of you and Mehriban khanim. There was a plaque with a picture of Surkhay Nochuyev in the front row. On your instruction, the plaque was presented to our family. It was the greatest gift for our family. Thank you very much, Mr. President.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace. We have liberated our lands from the occupiers at the cost of their lives. Every martyr will live forever in our hearts, in the hearts of the Azerbaijani people. Specific work is under way to perpetuate the names of our martyrs, and this will continue to be the case. The march organized on the Day of Remembrance showed the unity of all the Azerbaijani people, showed our respect for the memory of our martyrs. The portraits carried during the march were presented to the families of the martyrs as a beautiful souvenir on my instructions. Because even though they were not physically there with us, they went with us on this Victory March. In other words, all of Azerbaijan was there on that day. Their souls are happy today. They did not live long, they died young and they died as martyrs. But they will always live in our hearts. In your person, I would like to express my gratitude to all their parents as President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief. Because our martyrs were consciously going to die. We all know that to break through those fortifications in heavy battles, to cross them, to climb mountains, those steep mountains, especially in the Shusha operation, required an unprecedented example of heroism in history. Only people who grew up in the national spirit could do that. Parents like you raised them in the national spirit and gave them to the Motherland. And they also gave their lives for the Motherland. I heartily congratulate you, thank you and embrace you.
Abdul Nochuyev: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Resident: Mr. President, when we were in high school, there was a good tradition in Zangilan. We used to collect pebbles from the rivers in these mountains, in this beautiful nature. We would write our heartfelt wishes and words about the Motherland on those pebbles. You have written a new history, you are the author of a new history. Therefore, the students of the school to be built in Zangilan, our young people who witness our modern history, the history of Victory, will once again carry pebbles, draw a map of Azerbaijan and write new words under the majestic flags of Azerbaijan on these hills. They will write “Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” Kudos to the savior of these lands! Congratulations on our great return, Mr. President!
President Ilham Aliyev: We also opened a substation today. I was informed that the total energy demand of Zangilan district in Soviet times was only 7 megawatts, because the population was not so large. Now we have built a substation of 50 megawatts, taking into account future development. The population has grown. Prior to the occupation, the population of Zangilan was slightly more than 30,000. It has now reached 45,000, and I am sure that all the people of Zangilan will come and settle here in such a beautiful place, in their homeland.
Resident: Thank you, Mr. President.
President Ilham Aliyev: We are now restoring the mosque.
Akhund: I worked as an akhund in this mosque. We also extend our appreciation to Mehriban khanim. Thank you again for giving us these happy days. In fact, you gave us the opportunity to live in Zangilan for the second time. Mr. President, thank you on behalf of all the people of Zangilan.
First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Thank you very much.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation is engaged in the restoration of the mosque, and plaques have already been placed there. When we were there, we also laid a symbolic foundation stone. We will restore it too.
First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: That remaining part of it.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, we will restore that ancient part. I was told that there was a club or a warehouse there in Soviet times.
Resident: This is the forest of our village. It is one of the largest fertile forests of Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is your village here?
Resident: Yes, Vanadli village, it is down there. They have cut down all the trees - linden, oak, hornbeam, ulas. It was one of the biggest forests with many rare trees.
President Ilham Aliyev: They have cut down all the trees. When we were in Basitchay, we saw that they had even burned the stumps. They cut down trees and burned them. A part of the Basitchay reserve survives, covering an area of more than 100 hectares.
Resident: Yes, it used to be a state reserve.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, as you also said, it is the first plane tree forest in Europe.
Resident: Mr. President, you were so anxious as Supreme Commander-in-Chief for 44 days! To make such a decision at this time, to finish the war with such a victory, to manage everything with such professionalism is a sign of your true leadership. Thank you very much, Mr. President, we are very grateful to you.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much.
Resident: History is never forgotten.
President Ilham Aliyev: It is a historic day. There will always be history. 20 October will remain an eternal Victory Day for the people of Zangilan and for all our people of Azerbaijan. Because the day of liberation of every liberated city is a historic Victory Day.
Residents: Mr. President, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva, may the day come when we can welcome you to prosperous Zangilan. We wish you good luck. May all your steps be a success. Thank you very much. Inshallah, you will come to a rebuilt Zangilan.
First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Inshallah. May Allah protect you. Thank you.
President Ilham Aliyev: Congratulations again.
Residents: Thank you, thank you for everything.