The great national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev is what Mustafa Kemal Ataturk for Turkey, what Quaid-I-Azam is for Muslims of the subcontinent and Pakistan. He represents the flag and emblem of Azerbaijan as he was the one who stood for Azerbaijani nation and lead them as a country of civilization, of high culture and most harmonious mixture of ancient history with strong traditions and the boldest modernism.
The great journey of modernism and development that has made the country stood amongst the greatest nations of the world is correlated to the life and efforts of Heydar Aliyev. His name is also connected with the socio-political, economic and cultural uplift of the people of the country as well. By being an outstanding, farsighted politician and statesmen, he was a living legend and beacon of hope for the people of Azerbaijan.
Napoleon Bonaparte once said that a leader is a dealer in hope and Heydar Aliyev was a great leader of Azerbaijani nation providing them hope and optimism in the era of despair and distrust. He gave them direction and led them through the dark times of the history. With his wise and foresighted policies, great Azerbaijani leader Heydar Aliyev is the architect of what Azerbaijan is today; independent, economically developed and strategically important amongst community of nations. Today, by being one of the non permanent members of United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Azerbaijan has more say over the issues of the world. This great achievement amongst the nations of the world amplifies the independence and statehood of Azerbaijan as 155 states of the world endorsed the presence of Azerbaijan in UNSC. Once a backward nation has now been called as Tiger of the Caucasus for its fastest growing economy based on oil and energy.
Being a charismatic leader with impressive grasp of politics and person with a remarkable memory and ability to articulate a vision for the future of Azerbaijani nation, Heyder Aliyev was an intelligent man with an aspiration and eyes being on future and hold on the moving times. He made all efforts to make his country important in the eyes of the west and equally secure relations east. Soon after becoming President of the country, the visionary leader was able to elevate the country’s status as an important global player. He made headways in developing friendly relations with Iran and Russia as well thus keeping intact the security interests of the country. His focus was to establish an independent foreign policy of Azerbaijan and elevate the status of the country as being one of the leading global players.
Born to a noble family, Heydar Aliyev spent his early childhood years in the Nakhchivan city of Azerbaijan. He graduated from the Nakhchivan Pedagogical School, and then later attended Azerbaijan Industrial Institute (currently Azerbaijan State Oil Academy), where he studied architecture. Later he went on to pursue his graduation from Baku State University with majors in History in 1957. He married to Zarifa Aliyeva in 1948 (one of the great ophthalmologist of Azerbaijan) and had one son (current President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev born in 1961) and a daughter (born in 1955). Zarifa Aliyeva died of cancer in 1985.
Since 1941, Heydar Aliyev headed a department at the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Nakhchyvan, and in 1944 was sent to work at the state security bodies. All these years, he received special higher education in Leningrad (present St. Petersburg). He remained at the highest ranks of Communist Party but later as a sign of protest because of the policies of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party, resigned from his post.
In May-June 1993, as a result of the crisis in the country, people of Azerbaijan demanded to bring Heydar Aliyev to power. Heydar Aliyev, considering adversity of his nation, accepted the request and returned to great politics in Azerbaijan. The return of Heydar Aliyev brought hope and joy for his countrymen the day went down the history of the independent Azerbaijan as the Day of National Salvation. On 15 June 1993, Heydar Aliyev was elected Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan, and on 24 July, on resolution of the Milli Majlis, he proceeded to fulfilling the authorities of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The great national leader was being conferred with number of national and international awards. The title of honorary doctor of numerous countries, and other high honors, as conferred for four times with the Lenin Order, the Order of Krasnaya Zvezda and many medals, and twice Hero of Socialist Labor, was awarded by Orders and medals of many foreign states.
In 1999, his health began to deteriorate. He had a major heart bypass operation and later in 2003 he stood down from presidency. His son, the current president of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev became the next president after the sad demise of President Heydar Aliyev. He was buried at the Fakhri Khiyaban (The Alley of Honor) cemetery in Baku.
For achieving his dreams and goals for his country and his countrymen, Heydar Aliyev utilized his all efforts and energies to put the country on the path of economic development and achieve unity amongst the nation. He was instrumental in identifying that the nation’s oil and gas resources potential could be the key in securing the independence and successful economic development of Azerbaijan following the country’s succession from the Soviet Union. The visionary leader made the major powers to invest and participate in Azerbaijan’s oil exploration and development thus creating mutually beneficial relations with European countries, Russia, Turkey and the US. It was during those years that Azerbaijan created a powerful industrial potential, which helped Azerbaijan a lot later in the period of independence. This was done by creating a broad partnership between Azerbaijan and investment companies of these leading actors while maintaining good terms with the regional states. During presidency of Heydar Aliyev major contracts regarding production and procurement of oil and energy has been signed that gave boost to the economic development of the country. Heydar Aliyev keep a closer eye at the development projects and provided his personal support and that to SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan) without which the ACG, BTC and Shah Deniz projects could not have been successfully completed. A production sharing agreement (PSA) on Azerbaijani Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli offshore fields was considered as a Contract of the Century agreement that led to major investment in the country.
During his rule Heydar Aliyev provided outstanding support to his native land and the progress that he persistently worked hard to achieve for his country earned him respect and love from countrymen even after his death. It can be said that with great historical past which he was proud of and on the base of which he has build the indisputable and marvelous height of development for the Azerbaijan that the coming generations would always be thankful to him. For his character, life and works, Heydar Aliyev received admiration as a legendary leader of Azerbaijanis and as a respectable political personality from around the world. When he came to power in Azerbaijan, the republic became the most developed one in the Soviet Union. Heydar Aliyev also particularly focused on the development of agriculture, science, education and other fields as well in those years which later proved effective in creating the national and spiritual values of the nation as a united one as well.
Today’s Azerbaijan is stable and prosperous while at the same time it is united and progressive. The economic independence and progress that the country has achieved during the time of Heydar Aliyev are continued and the incumbent government is still following those policies. The economic progress of Azerbaijan is coupled with social cohesion and evolution. It has an independent and clear foreign policy and thanks to all the visionary leadership of past and current both for their works for the people of the country.
We can sum up the whole commentary about the great national leader with words from President IlhamAliyev, who said Heydar Aliyev is alive. He lives….in the heart of the Azerbaijani people. While there is Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev will be alive. We – who continue the work of the great leader – will be going his way, strengthen Azerbaijan, defend our independence.