By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Korean-language Editor Linda Yoon
On the occasion of the National Flag Day and the First Anniversary of the Victory Day of Azerbaijan on Nov. 8, 2021, Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov of the Republic of Azerbaijan hosted a reception on the Dung Dung Seom Floating Island on the southern end of the Double-deck Bridge of Banpo over the Han River.
It was so far the first diplomatic function following the seemingly nearing end of the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea.
The reception consisted of a gala dinner with performing artist performances of singers and dancers.
Many ambassadors attended the reception with their spouses and there also were a good number of Korean society figures who included Mrs. Park Jae-kyu, madam of the president of the Kyungnam University.
Among the ambassadors were (in alphabetical order) Ambs. Edgar Gaspar Martins of Angola, Bakyt Dyussenbayev of Kazakhstan, Dinara Kemelova of Kyrgyz Republic, Daul Matute-Mejia of Peru and Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi of the United Arab Emirates.
There also were a noted Korean society figures who included well-known Korean businessman Tongsun Park.
Speaking to the guests at the meeting, Ambassador Teymurov said, “Today, the symbol of the independence of the first democracy in the Muslim and Turkic world, the tricolor state flag of Azerbaijan turns 103 years!” Then he said, “Millions of Azerbaijani people around the globe are celebrating the State Flag Day to honor the raise of the nation’s flag in 1918.”
Azerbaijan is located in the center of the South Caucasus and on the coast of the Caspian Sea. The country is known to be rich with natural resources, oil and gas fields. Being a link between Asia and Europe, Azerbaijan is also in a geographically favorable position.
The country has been implementing energy projects such as the Baku-Tibilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which transports Caspian oil to the Mediterranean Sea since 2006, the Baku-Tibilisi-Erzurum pipeline that transports Azerbaijani gas to the central part of Turkey since 2007 and the Southern Gas Corridor which will continue to support the energy security of the European continent since for the years to come 2020.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Azerbaijan in 1992, Korean President Roh Moo-hyun's visit to Azerbaijan in May 2006 and the official visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in April 2007 and second visit of President Aliyev to attend in the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, the relations between two countries have rapidly grown in the short term.
There are many similarities between the two countries in their history, culture, traditions and language. Azerbaijani people show great interest in Korea. This leads to the increased number of students who are visiting Korea for learning Korean culture, history etc.
Nowadays, Koreans are showing great interest in the Caucasus region, which was unfamiliar to Koreans. And this leads to the increased number of Koreans visiting Azerbaijan. I hope that through mutual exchange and cooperation in various fields between our two countries, mutual understanding between the two peoples will be enhanced and a good relationship will continue to expand mutual benefits of both countries
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Teymurov follow:
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Teymurov:
Today, the symbol of the independence of the first democracy in the Muslim and Turkic world, the tricolor state flag of Azerbaijan turns 103 years!
Millions of Azerbaijani people around the globe are celebrating the State Flag Day to honor the raise of the nation’s flag in 1918.On November 9, 1918, following the collapse of the Russian empire and shortly after the formation of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the central government ordered a change to an earlier version of the flag, which had a white crescent and a white eight-pointed star on a red background. The design of the flag was changed for three horizontal bands in equal size, of blue, red and green colors, with a white crescent and an eight-pointed star in the center. The decision was ratified unanimously and paved the way for the adoption of an all-new tricolor flag of the newborn democracy on November 9, 1918.
The uppermost band of blue on the flag symbolizes the Turkic origin of the Azerbaijani nation. The middle band of red is symbolic of modern society, democracy and progress. The green band represents Azerbaijan’s connection to Islam, the predominant religion.
The independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic existed for 23 months before it was occupied by the Bolsheviks on April 28, 1920 and then incorporated into the Soviet Union. But the fall of the Soviet Union and declaration of independence of Azerbaijan in 1991 brought back the national flag, nicknamed “Üçrəngli Bayraq” (the tricolor flag).
In 2009, President Aliyev signed a decree making the ninth of November a public holiday, called State Flag Day, to commemorate the country’s history and pay respects to a flag that withstood the tests of time.
Over 100 years historical path of tricolor flag contains challenges and tragic moments along with honorable events. On one hand the tricolor flag of Azerbaijan is the symbol of the independence of the first democracy in the Muslim East, on the other hand, the same flag was raised twice in the same century! And both first and the second raise of the flag accompanied with tragic events and foreign invasions.
As all of you are well aware, late 1980’s and the beginning of 1990’s witnessed the occupation of Azerbaijani territories that ended with lost of the 20% of territories. Despite several calls by the international community which include UN Security Council resolutions that demanded immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces - Armenian occupation continued up until last year.
Here I must say that, it was unfortunate for diplomacy, which once again failed to resolve the longstanding conflict through negotiations. It was regrettable that numerous calls by Azerbaijan for international pressure on Armenia to stop its occupation policy were neglected. We repeatedly told our international counterparts that the alternative of diplomacy for resolving the conflict would be the war because Azerbaijan will never agree with establishing another Armenian state on its territories. Unfortunately, our calls were accepted as diplomatic maneuvers or bluffing! It was also regrettable that those mandated on peaceful resolution of the conflict did not force Armenia to implement 4 UN Security Council resolutions that demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of military forces from the occupied territories.
Azerbaijan has been left no other choice but to respond to the Armenian aggression and provocations militarily. It was exactly one year ago when Azerbaijani Armed Forces began responsive measures to counter another military provocation of the occupiers.
The military measures were undertaken within the framework of the right to self-defense. They were in full compliance with the international humanitarian law in order to prevent another military aggression from Armenia, and to provide for the security of civilian population.
By the leadership of the Commander in Chief, H.E. Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan put an end to 30-year-long policy of aggression. Azerbaijan ensured its territorial integrity, and the fundamental rights of nearly one million displaced Azerbaijanis were restored. Azerbaijan, alone ensured the implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions of 1993.
The end of the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories revealed the full extent of the illegal activities undertaken by Armenia for decades. This includes extensive mining; the deliberate destruction and misappropriation of Azerbaijan’s historical, cultural and religious heritage; plundering of natural resources; destruction of infrastructure; and other violations of international law.
The Government of Azerbaijan is carrying out restoration and reconstruction works in the liberated territories and taking consistent steps to ensure safe and dignified return of nearly one million of displaced Azerbaijanis, as well as reintegration of these lands. The Government is also taking all necessary measures to ensure lasting peace, security and prosperity in the region in accordance with the Trilateral Statement of November 10, 2020.
Azerbaijan is ready to normalize relations with Armenia, on the basis of strict observance of the principles of the international law, in particular sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of international borders. We call on Armenia to respect these fundamental principles to ensure peace, security and prosperity in the region and comply with its international obligations.
Once again, I would like to commemorate with deep respect and esteem the memory of all our Martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
And I thank all of you once again for your attendance at today’s event, and I strongly wish that neither Azerbaijan nor any other country throughout the globe ever face with the occupation or conflicts, and may peace be upon all of our countries.