First European games to demonstrate Azerbaijan`s power
Q: Mr Gasimov Republic Day is approaching. What it the role of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in the history of statehood in our country?
A: The establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic is a great and historic event, in which the people of Azerbaijan finally gained independence and freedom, which was sought for centuries. Creation of the Azerbaijani state contributed to the spread of the republic as a form of government in the Muslim world.
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established as the first democracy in the Muslim world. Not only a true multi-party republican form of government was created, but it also extended the suffrage to all persons, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or gender, becoming the first country in the Muslim world to give voting rights to women, even ahead of such advanced western democracies as the United States and the United Kingdom. It guaranteed freedoms of expression, assembly and religion, among many other freedoms to the citizens of Azerbaijan.
Q: What can you say of rapid development and accomplishments of present-day Azerbaijan?
A: Thanks to its rapid development rate in the past few years, Azerbaijan has become the regional leader, and strengthened its position on the international arena. The last year too saw Azerbaijan ensure development in all spheres of life. I would like to emphasize that Azerbaijan`s maintaining sustainable development rate against the background of economic and political problems in the world is a very unique event. At the same time, Azerbaijan managed to preserve socio-political stability and established new mechanisms of increasing effectiveness of administration.
We all remember the first few months and years of our independence. Those were very difficult, tragic years. The government of the time did not have the strength to preserve the independence. At the same time, we lived in a time of war and military setbacks at the frontline certainly undermined our society a lot. But the new government which came to power in mid-1992 put our country in an even more deplorable situation. Due to its incompetence, lack of professionalism and treachery we were about to lose our independence.
The negative processes taking place in the country, crisis, economic recession and political instability dealt a major blow to our independence. Under such circumstances, the bright people of our society, intellectuals, people enjoying great respect rallied around great leader Heydar Aliyev and decided to establish the New Azerbaijan Party.
National leader Heydar Aliyev`s returning to power marked a turning point in the country`s political and economic life. Azerbaijan`s natural resources started to be used for the benefit of the country`s people. The national leader laid the foundations of Azerbaijan`s oil strategy. The country signed the Contract of the Century to attract foreign investments. Azerbaijan is developing and achieving successes in all the spheres. Azerbaijan has gained a worthy position in the international arena. Azerbaijan has a good reputation worldwide now. All the large-scale projects in the region are being implemented with the participation of Azerbaijan, taking the interests of Azerbaijan into consideration.”
President Ilham Aliyev`s election as chairman of YAP and the Head of State meant the continuation of the national leader-initiated political course. There has not been any alternative to national leader Heydar Aliyev`s policy, and the last 10 years proved that Mr. Ilham Aliyev`s becoming the President marked a new page in the country`s development.
Q: Azerbaijan is preparing to host the inaugural European Games, a high-profile international event. We would like to learn your opinion about the importance and advantages of the Games…
A: The fact that we will host the first European Games is a manifestation of the great confidence placed in us, but it also puts tremendous responsibility on our shoulders. We also see the Games as evidence of great international interest in Azerbaijan. The dynamic development of Azerbaijan over the past 10 years, our achievements is all spheres of public life, and the independent policies we pursue in the international arena have enhanced our authority on a global scale. At the same time, as a result of the immense construction and landscaping work we have carried out, Baku has turned into one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I am sure that Baku will impress its visitors and athletes during the Games.
By pursuing a completely independent policy, Azerbaijan has earned itself great authority worldwide. In 2011-12, with the support of 155 countries Azerbaijan was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and presided over this supreme body for two months. Extensive work has been carried out to create a modern sporting infrastructure. The construction of most of the future venues of the Games have either already been completed or is nearing completion. The transport infrastructure of the capital city has been overhauled, security measures taken, and serious attention paid to welcoming, accommodation, and training of visiting athletes.
I am convinced that the European Games will also be instrumental in promoting different sports in Azerbaijan and giving rise to a generation of athletes. At the same time, the Games will have a tremendous social impact on the country. The infrastructure put in place in the run-up to the European Games will pave the way for conducting other prestigious international and regional sporting events in the country. Azerbaijan has amassed extensive experience in conducting major events; therefore, I am absolutely sure that we will conduct the Games at the highest level. Baku-2015 will open a new interesting page in the history of sport
Q: Anti-Azerbaijani and pro-Armenian circles, including “the fifth column” in the country are carrying out a smear campaign against our country...
A: Unfortunately, some local groups and international circles that are trying to discredit Azerbaijan’s achievements in economic, social, political, humanitarian and other fields, don’t want to miss this opportunity and attempt to make the First European Games the main topic of the smear campaign carried out against our country. Those putting forward such "facts" are trying to tarnish the image of Azerbaijan and commit provocation amid a major international sporting event, the European Games. We faced such provocations in the past - on the eve of Eurovision-2012 Song Contest. At that time, the international community was convinced that all this is nothing more than an insidious game of the forces intending to put pressure on Azerbaijan and impose their will on the country's independent policy. We are confident that the use of such primitive and feeble methods to discredit Azerbaijan will produce no results and urge those forces to abandon their intentions.