On March 15, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited Fuzuli and Khojavand districts.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
-I am in the liberated territories again. Today I will lay the foundation of the Fuzuli-Hadrut road. The construction of this road is of great importance for the restoration of the liberated areas. This is not the first project. Several road projects are already underway. The restoration of liberated lands has begun. The road from Fuzuli to Shusha is under construction – the Victory road is being built. At the same time, the construction of the Barda-Aghdam road will be completed in the near future. Another road will be built from Horadiz to Zangilan. In short, even though only four months have passed since the war, great creative work has begun.
Once again, when we see these ruins in the liberated lands, we see yet again that the loathsome enemy has destroyed all our settlements and wanted to erase our historical heritage. But they did not succeed. We have returned to these lands. We have returned as a heroic people, as a victorious state. We drove the enemy out of our native lands.
Driving through the liberated lands today, we passed through the village of Garakhanbayli. Garakhanbayli village was liberated on the first day of the war – on 27 September. It was from here, from that direction, that we began to carry out our glorious mission and drive the enemy out of our lands. We are now engaged in creative work. A new period begins in our lives – a period of creation, development and restoration of our lands.
X X X
As part of the visit, President Ilham Aliyev laid the foundation of the Fuzuli-Hadrut highway.
This road originates from Victory road and connects to the new Hadrut-Jabrayil-Shukurbayli highway. The 13-kilometer road will have four lanes. Bridges will be built along the road.
X X X
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva left for Khojavand district.
President Ilham Aliyev: We are in the liberated lands again. We are going from Fuzuli to Khojavand district. We are going to the liberated Khojavand district. We are once again witnessing the destruction of all settlements along the road. All villages and cities are completely destroyed. In fact, this destruction was caused after the war. During the war, during the first Karabakh war, there was not and could not be so much destruction. It was during the occupation that the hated enemy brought our cities to this state.
This is the city of Fuzuli. But there are no traces of a city. There is no city – it is destroyed. The Armenians have destroyed it. During the occupation, they came and demolished our buildings, took away the stones and roofs of the buildings like thieves, like robbers. These are the remains of Fuzuli. Let foreign circles defending Armenia open their eyes to their savagery. Who are they defending?
The contemptible enemy occupied our lands for 30 years and did not leave a single stone intact. Notice what roads are like now. These roads have not seen asphalt for 30 years. All their propaganda is false and all their history is false. They called themselves a state. The so-called “Artsakh state” went to hell. If it was a “state”, then why didn’t they leave a single stone intact? Because they knew that this land was not theirs. This land is the land of Azerbaijanis.
This is the liberated Khojavand district.
We are in Edilli village of Khojavand district. This is Aghbulag village. The heroic Azerbaijani Army liberated the ancient lands of Azerbaijan from the occupiers. There were battles here. We fought and drove the enemy out of our native lands.
This is the village of Dudukchu in the former Hadrut district, which was liberated from occupation. Notice how beautiful the sight of it is.
X X X
President of Azerbaijan, Victorious Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev raised the state flag in Hadrut settlement and made a speech.
Speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- Hadrut settlement was liberated on 9 October. The liberation of Hadrut was possible due to a very successful military operation. First, the surrounding heights were taken. After the heights around Hadrut were taken over by the Azerbaijani Army, control over it passed to the Azerbaijani Army and the liberation of Hadrut settlement was already inevitable. I should also note that the Armenian civilian population living here was evacuated as a result of a military operation. I can say that during the 44-day war as a whole, the losses among Armenian civilians were quite small because the Azerbaijani Army has never waged a war against the civilian population. Unlike the Armenians, during the war we fought only against military units, defeated them and drove them out of our lands. As for the civilian population, according to Armenian statistics, about 40 civilians were killed during the war. The vast majority of them were civilians involved in military operations.
The liberation of Hadrut settlement was a very important operation. The liberation of Hadrut after Jabrayil district and the city of Jabrayil was an event of special importance for the continuation of our military operations.
I must also say that the city of Fuzuli was liberated after Hadrut – on 17 October. The Armenian army was waiting for us in a different direction. However, following the rules of war and proper strategic planning, we liberated Hadrut after Jabrayil and then Fuzuli.
Let me also note that when Hadrut was already in our hands, the Armenian leadership, officials and, at the same time, some foreign journalists who brought grist to the Armenian mill were claiming that Hadrut was in the hands of the Armenians. I can’t understand to this day why the Armenian leadership was deceiving its people. We knew for sure that Hadrut was ours. We knew exactly that the Armenian army had been completely destroyed here and the surviving Armenian soldiers cowardly fled into hiding in the mountains. Hadrut was fully under our control. However, some foreign journalists were saying that Hadrut was allegedly in the hands of Armenians.
After the liberation of Hadrut, we headed for Shusha. It was important to liberate Hadrut for the Shusha operation to succeed. Again, we approached Shusha from a direction the enemy was not expecting us. We liberated Shusha from the invaders by crossing mountains, valleys, steep cliffs, by climbing those cliffs. Therefore, the Hadrut operation will have a special place in the world's military books.
In general, our glorious 44-day war, our Victory are being studied in the world's leading universities these days. In fact, military experts, specialists and even politicians from many countries are talking about our war and saying that it was a war of the 21st century. Azerbaijan won the war, expelled the enemy from our ancient lands and restored historical justice. Hadrut settlement was considered the center of Hadrut district of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. After the abolition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, Martuni and Hadrut districts of the former autonomous region were merged and Khojavand district was set up. The ancient historical name of this place, Khojavand, was returned. During the war, more than 50 percent of Martuni district of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region and 100 percent of the territory of Hadrut district of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region were liberated from the occupiers. Commenting on the outcome of the war, some say that Azerbaijan has liberated seven districts, which is not the case. We have liberated seven districts, Shusha city, Sugovushan settlement of Aghdara district, Talish settlement, former Hadrut district, most of the former Martuni district, thus restoring historical justice. Thus, Azerbaijan has made historic achievements in restoring its territorial integrity.
We have written a new history of our people, a glorious history of heroism, and great construction work is under way in the liberated lands today. Major infrastructure projects are being implemented. Today, coming from Baku and driving through the destroyed city of Fuzuli, I saw again the disaster unleashed by Armenian savages. Let the foreign circles defending them and standing behind them today open their eyes and see what day the Armenian savagery has turned our cities into. All our cities have been destroyed, all our villages have been destroyed, historical sites have been destroyed, mosques have been destroyed, graves have been destroyed, unmatched vandalism and barbarism have been perpetrated. We, for our part, have liberated our lands. Armenians from Armenia and foreign countries were illegally brought and settled in this settlement. But this settlement is safe, not a single building has been destroyed, not a single building has been burned. This is the approach of the Azerbaijani Army, this is our moral code. What did the Armenians do? They destroyed all our buildings, our mosques. They kept animals in our mosques. They have desecrated our sacred monuments. The houses built by the Azerbaijanis – the Armenians lived there illegally – were burned and destroyed. They cut down forests from 10 November to 1 December. They destroyed hydroelectric power plants. This is the difference. Azerbaijani soldiers have high moral qualities, and the instructions given to soldiers and all servicemen have been fulfilled. I said that we have never fought against civilians, and everyone can see that now. I said that the Armenian leadership should give us a timetable of when it would leave our lands and that we were ready to stop the war, and we did it. Today we have returned here as owners of these lands. The Azerbaijani flag is flying in all the liberated lands today. Today, as the Commander-in-Chief of our Victorious Army, I raised our national flag in Hadrut settlement. This flag will fly here forever. We Azerbaijanis will live in our ancestral lands forever. We will rebuild all the destroyed cities and villages, life will return here, people will return here, and we will once again show the world the greatness of our people. Khojavand is ours, Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
X X X
President Ilham Aliyev then laid a foundation stone for the Hadrut-Jabrayil-Shukurbayli highway. The four-lane highway is 43 km in length.
X X X
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva visited the building of the former Hadrut District Party Committee.
The head of state said:
- This is the building of the former Hadrut District Party Committee. The illegal regime created an administration for themselves here. This building was constructed at the expense of Azerbaijan and we have returned it. Hadrut is ours!
These words are written in the old script: "For permanent benefit of collective farms lands". It was written before 1939. In 1939, our alphabet was changed. This is a historical document.
X X X
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then viewed the Alban temple in Hunarli village.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
- This is an ancient Alban temple, an Alban church. It is located in the village of Hunarli. The Armenians wanted to Armenianize this church as well and wrote inscriptions in Armenian here, but they did not succeed. If this were an Armenian church, would they leave it in such a state? It looks like a stable, as if it were a garbage dump. This is our ancient historical site, a temple of our Udi brothers. They will come here too. Just as the Armenians desecrated our mosques, they have also desecrated this ancient Albanian temple. But we will restore. All these inscriptions are fake – they were written later. They have created a false history for themselves in our ancient lands. But they did not succeed, because we exposed them. The fact that this church – the Albanian temple – is in this condition once again shows Armenian fraud. If it were an Armenian church, they would have renovated it. There are those who criticize us for not taking good care of Christian sites. It is Armenians who brought it to this condition.
Let them come and see how Christian sites are protected in different parts of Azerbaijan. They will see this ancient Alban church repaired after a while. Temples of all religions in Azerbaijan are protected by the state, built by the state, and the whole world knows that. The world should know and see Armenians savagery in our mosques. There were 67 mosques in the liberated lands, only two of which remained in a partly destroyed state. They used them for various purposes. The Alban Church has also been brought to this condition. They may have kept animals here too, they may have kept metal scrap here, some of that scrap is still there. Therefore, everyone should see and know this. If someone wants to make any baseless accusations against us, they will get an answer, as they have done so far.
Look, look here, if it were an Armenian church, would they have written this? Would they have written this? Kamo, Artur, Marta and what have you. Would they have desecrated their own churches like that? All these stones are fake. This is Armenian forgery. Inside too, come on in here. If it were an Armenian church, would they have written this – “Igor”, “Asha”? They destroyed, ruined it and burned the door.
X X X
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then arrived in Tugh village.
President Ilham Aliyev: We have arrived in Tugh village. Tugh is an ancient Azerbaijani village.
First lady Mehriban Aliyeva: Is this the school building?
President Ilham Aliyev: A school in Tugh village destroyed by Armenians. Notice what condition it is in. And yet they say that Tugh is an Armenian village. If it were an Armenian village, would they have destroyed it? This is the land of ancient Azerbaijan. Tugh village has always been and will continue to be an Azerbaijani village.
Houses of Azerbaijanis destroyed by Armenians in Tugh village. All the ruins can be seen from here.
Of course, the residents of Tugh village will recognize their homes. I am sure that the residents of Tugh will return to their native village in the near future. Notice how beautiful Azerbaijan is. Notice how beautiful Karabakh is. We will restore all the destroyed villages and cities.
The head of state and his wife visited the Alban temple in Tugh.
President Ilham Aliyev: This is yet another Armenian falsification. These stones were brought here afterwards. It has nothing to do with the temple.
This is an ancient Alban temple. This temple will also be returned to our Udi brothers. Armenians wanted to Armenianize it as well, but they did not and will not succeed. After that, the Azerbaijani state will protect this Alban temple.
X X X
President Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their daughter Leyla Aliyeva then headed to Azykh village.
The head of state: We are leaving Tugh village and are now heading for Azykh village. Azykh is also an ancient Azerbaijani village, an ancient settlement. The nature of these places is also beautiful.
We are approaching Azykh village. Spectacular views of Karabakh. This is the territory of Azykh village.
We are going to the Azykh cave. There is still a long way to go.
We are at the entrance to the Azykh cave. We climbed about 800 steps. It was a good exercise and showed our fitness. We will now enter the Azykh cave. This cave was discovered by Azerbaijani archeologist Mammadali Huseynov in 1960. Research was conducted here after that. It is one of the oldest human settlements in the world, belongs to the history of Azerbaijan, it is our historical asset. Armenia illegally carried out work in this cave, illegally brought scientists here from abroad. They have caused great damage to this cave and our historical heritage. They will pay for all this damage. We will make them do that.
The Azykh cave was discovered by an Azerbaijani scientist. The Azykh cave is located in the territory of Azerbaijan. From now on, it will be Azerbaijani scientists and their invited foreign colleagues who will conduct research here legally.
What is a beautiful view! Azykh village is over there. You can take a few good shots from here. We have reached this summit. We will climb all the peaks. There is no peak we cannot climb. Let's say together: “Azykh is Azerbaijan!”, “Karabakh is Azerbaijan!”