The portal of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA-OIC) has published an article on 28 May-the Republic Day of Azerbaijan.
Headlined “Azerbaijan to mark Thursday 102nd anniversary of establishing first Parliamentary Republic”, the article reads:
“The people of Azerbaijan will celebrate on Thursday, 28 May, the 102nd anniversary of the establishment of the first Parliamentary Republic in the Islamic East – the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
The nascent democracy managed at that time to gain international recognition on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920). This event is one of the landmark and glorious pages in the history of the Azerbaijani people who continue to celebrate this day on a large scale.
However, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic lasted only 23 months until the Soviet Red Army invaded it, halting its march as the first modern democratic state in the Muslim world, and establishing the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic on 28 April 1920.
The modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991. The fledgling republic has made great strides in building the state democratic institutions, as it granted women the right to vote and guaranteed gender equality.
Azerbaijan built its national army and national economy, issued its national currency, created the national bank, obtained international community’s recognition of its independence and sovereignty, and established international relations with countries and organizations.
On the legislative level, Azerbaijan has issued a number of critical laws and decrees, in line with the principles specified in the Declaration of Independence, the main objective of which was to form and consolidate the three branches of power – Legislative, Executive and Judicial – in addition to protecting the independence of the state and its territorial integrity, commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the establishment of a law-based democratic state.
In order to prevent foreign intervention in internal affairs, both the government and parliament made every effort to gain international recognition of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, as the Parliament decided to send a special delegation to the Paris Peace Conference on 18 December 1918. But the Soviet invasion of the South Caucasus resulted in the occupation of the fledgling Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan on 28 April 1920, which in turn left a remarkable impact on the history of the national liberation movement.
However, the seven decades of hideous Soviet rule did not discourage the Azerbaijani people from the values of freedom and independence. On 18 October 1991, Azerbaijan adopted its declaration of independence and separation from the Communist rule.
Azerbaijan joined the United Nations, which in turn recognized the country’s membership within the boundaries that existed before the Armenian occupation.
In the first years of its independence, Azerbaijan faced the sudden military aggression of the neighboring country, Armenia, which led to the occupation of 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territories and turned more than a million Azerbaijanis into displaced persons and refugees.
Armenia would not have succeeded in invading Azerbaijan’s territories if there had not been political chaos and internal fighting for power between the warring parties. Whilst, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic – an autonomous state within the Republic of Azerbaijan – had begun to take advantage of development decisions based on political and economic reforms in the light of political and social stability led by Heydar Aliyev.
During those difficult circumstances, the Azerbaijani people demanded to bring Heydar Aliyev to power as the country was on the verge of a civil war and faced the peril of losing independence. The patriotic Azerbaijani leader returned to his homeland at the request of his determined people on 15 June 1993, where he was elected Chairman of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan, and on 3 October 1993, Aliyev was elected President of Azerbaijan after securing an overwhelming majority in the presidential elections.
Once taking over power, President Aliyev rushed to liberate some of the occupied territories with the meager military capabilities available at that time and reached a ceasefire agreement with Armenia in 1994. Following the armistice, Aliyev began taking measures and decisions aimed at providing political and social stability as well as building state institutions, armed forces and national economy starting from scratch.
In 2003, after a majority of Azeri voters expressed their confidence in President Ilham Aliyev, a comprehensive development plan was launched, triggering a multiple-fold increase in the size of the country’s economy, concrete reduction in unemployment and poverty rates, improvement in the standard of living, and massive growth of foreign exchange reserves.
Azerbaijan has become a leading country in the Caucasus region and gained more confidence by the international community, thanks to National Leader Heydar Aliyev’s wise approach, which was followed by his successor President Ilham Aliyev.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation, headed by Azerbaijan’s First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, plays a key role in the country’s economic boom as well as in serving the Azerbaijani community and promoting facts about Azerbaijan abroad. This foundation is at the forefront of humanitarian, educational, health and other projects, both inside and outside the country.
This humanitarian diplomacy has also earned the Republic of Azerbaijan a distinguished regional and international reputation.”
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