Ilham Aliyev explains what played key part in Azerbaijan's Patriotic War

Ilham Aliyev explains what played key part in Azerbaijan's Patriotic War

It's feelings of patriotism, love and devotion to the Motherland that played the key part in the Patriotic War, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said as he received members of the Azerbaijani national team participating in the 7th U23 European Wrestling Championships held in Bulgaria.

“You represent the winning country today. When we joined major sports competitions as an independent country before, we were a country whose territory was occupied. We had to prove, and we did, that we have the strength and resolve. The skill and capacity we show in international sports arenas will also be shown on the battlefield,” he said.

“In any case, the sports factor has played a great part in educating our people and youth in the spirit of patriotism. Knowing this, I have always tried to maintain a high sense of patriotism among our young people. It was these feelings of patriotism, love and devotion to the Motherland that played the key part in the Patriotic War. Of course, we have a strong army, equipment, weapons and ammunition, but it was the perseverance of our warriors and their devotion to the Motherland that preconditioned our victory. This stems from true patriotism,” the head of state noted.

"For many years, for almost 30 years, we were represented in the international arena as a defeated country – both in sports and in the political arena. Difficult as it is to acknowledge that, it is what it is. In other words, we must know and tell the truth the way it is. True, there were reasons for that defeat, the betrayal of the anti-national government, the lack of an army, the assistance provided to Armenia by foreign countries – all this was there. These very factors led to the defeat. The truth was that our lands were under occupation, and we had to prove that we would liberate our lands from the occupiers at any cost. I want to say again that the successes in sports, including the raising of our flag and the playing of our national anthem, strengthened the feelings of patriotism and showed each of us again that if we can defeat the enemy in sports, we will definitely win on the battlefield as well. And this is exactly what happened," he stressed.

"You, young people represent a different Azerbaijan now. You represent a victorious nation. I am sure that when you enter the sports arena, you must have these feelings in your heart. Today, not only Azerbaijani citizens but also Azerbaijanis living all over the world feel proud talking about the second Karabakh war and conveying the truth about Azerbaijan in the countries they live in. Of course, you join international competitions in different countries. You are probably too young for that and have just started participating in international competitions, but I am sure that our senior athletes, coaches and sports professionals can definitely see just how much the attitude towards Azerbaijan has changed. Because we represent a victorious country and a victorious people. We fought the war with dignity and in accordance with all the rules of war. We did not fight against the civilian population, we did not bomb buildings and we did not commit atrocities. However, there was always a feeling of revenge in the hearts of our people. After all, the Armenians committed acts of genocide against us, they conducted a policy of ethnic cleansing against us, so there must have been a sense of revenge. But I said that we would exact revenge on the enemy on the battlefield only. The whole world, all military experts have repeatedly noted that Azerbaijan had waged this war with great skill and mastery, achieved what it wanted in a short time, and respected all the rules of warfare. This is why the number of civilian casualties on the enemy side was less than 30, and that was because those civilians were involved in the fighting," the Azerbaijani leader stated.

"I want to emphasize this in particular. Wars have been waged, are being waged and, unfortunately, will be waged in many parts of the world. If we pay attention to these wars, I think that both the Azerbaijani people and the entire world community will see again the greatness of the Azerbaijani people and the responsibility of the Azerbaijani leadership. Of course, this is an additional incentive for our athletes. Because we represent a dignified nation and a country that deserves great respect. You athletes will represent a victorious country for generations to come because our victory is eternal. We are the people who liberated Karabakh from the enemy and are creating a new life in those lands," the head of state said.

Ilham Aliyev stressed that sports must be developed in the liberated lands. "We are already working on that. Stadiums, sports centers and other sports facilities are part of the master plans of all liberated cities. From now on, the federations and the Ministry of Youth and Sports must submit projects. Because the master plans of cities envisage sports facilities as well. But what will their appearance and architecture be like? This must be submitted by relevant federations and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. In short, dear friends, guys, coaches, professionals, I congratulate you again and wish you continued success and victories," AzerTAc cited him as saying.