Author: Sabira ALAKBAROVA
"Your loved ones have given their lives to serve the homeland. Their souls have ascended to martyrdom. May God rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace," President Ilham Aliyev said at the meeting with the families of martyrs at the Presidential Palace. The meeting was warm and relaxed. Mr. Aliyev expressed his appreciation and respect to the family members of the fallen, noting that he shared the pain of loss with each parent who had raised the children in the spirit of patriotism and love for the homeland, those who were not afraid to give their lives for Azerbaijan. But if there was no war... One could see this thought on the faces of parents who had survived the greatest grief after burying their children as heroes. Perhaps, the president also wanted to express the same thought, as the Supreme Commander of Azerbaijan. The president does not accept defeat and one of his missions as a leader of state is to raise the patriotic spirit in his people. Meeting with the families of martyrs is a clear confirmation of this idea.
In his speech, Ilham Aliyev noted that the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the framework of the negotiation process is the main task for Azerbaijan. But since "the force has become a dominant factor in solving the problems" in today's world, Azerbaijan is demonstrating its readiness to use force as well.
Affected by war
In fact, by inviting the families of martyrs to the Presidential Palace, the president wanted to express not only his gratitude, deep respect and reverence, but to demonstrate the care that the state demonstrates to its citizens affected by the war. According to Mr. Aliyev, in recent years, more than a hundred small towns and villages have been constructed only for the families of internally displaced persons. More than 6,650 apartments and 6,000 passenger cars have been provided to the families of martyrs.
"We will continue to build and rent houses for the families of martyrs. Last year, 626 families were provided with new apartments and houses. In 2019, another 800 families will move to new apartments. In the next few years, all the families of martyrs will be provided with apartments and houses. Not a single martyr family will remain without a house or apartment. This is a tribute of our government to the families of martyrs. I do not know any other country that pays so much attention and care to its citizens in need and those who have lost their loved ones. My regular meetings with the families of martyrs in recent years confirm this again. Together we participated in the opening of many houses. I personally handed over keys of apartments and cars to the families of martyrs. This is my duty to serve my people. It is my great honour to serve you," president noted.
At the same time, Ilham Aliyev said that he had signed a decree on additional measures to improve the social protection of family members of servicemen who died for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan during the April 2018 events. And he explained why.
"In April 2018, the people of Azerbaijan demonstrated its trust in me by re-electing me as president. My first decree was on increasing social protection of the families of the martyrs. Of course, this was not by accident. I could sign a decree on any other sphere, including economics, foreign policy, and social issues. But I thought that my first decree should concern the families of the fallen heroes. Shortly after the publication of my decree, the government has paid a lump sum amount of ₼11,000 to about ten thousand families of martyrs.
The payment process has already begun - more than three thousand families of martyrs received ₼11,000 each. But it turned out later that the amount received by citizens previously as an allowance did not correspond to the amount provided today. Obviously, ₼50,000 paid back in the early 1990s cannot be compared with ₼11,000 that we pay today in terms of the purchasing power. Then I noted that this issue had to be seriously studied with two main factors in mind: law and justice. On the one hand, citizens who had previously received allowance should not be included in the list of potential beneficiaries. This is required by the law. On the other hand, we must resolve all issues justly, through a prism of social justice. Therefore, I signed a new decree, which increased the number of citizens receiving ₼11,000 to 2,725 people. Certainly, this includes the citizens who had received a smaller allowance previously, and the members of the families of martyrs serving in law enforcement agencies who had not been included in the list of recipients (more than 460 individuals)," president said.
According to Ilham Aliyev, it is planned to allocate a total of ₼135 million from the state budget for the implementation of this program. "This is quite a large amount. We try to be thrifty as much as possible. We also try to support the directions that determine the economic and social welfare of Azerbaijan. As I have always said, the welfare and prosperity of our citizens is the most important task of our government. Therefore, this is a just decision," Ilham Aliyev said.
We are proud of them
Members of the families of martyrs also had an opportunity to speak. They noted that they are proud of having their grandfathers, fathers and sons as martyrs in the name of freedom and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. They thanked the president for showing care and attention. "We support your foreign and domestic policy. Thank you. May God bless you," Shirvan Nusretov, a father of one of the fallen heroes, said.
In conclusion, the president wished everyone all the best and expressed his hope that none of the citizens had "such terrible tragedies" in the future.
Ilham Aliyev then distributed payment cards with lumpsum payment to the heirs of martyrs.
"Dear brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers. Once again, I want express my deep respect to you. You have raised wonderful sons for the homeland. You were a support for your loved ones. You can be proud of your sons. All the people of Azerbaijan are proud of them. The fallen heroes will always live in our hearts. Thank you!"