Atatürk Center in Azerbaijan
Dr. Akkan SuverAzerbaijan is very sincere, attentive and careful about the heritage of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The sincerity, attention and care on this issue from Azerbaijan’s national hero, the late President Heydar Aliyev, are above all praise and appreciation.
There were numerous works of importance that were conducted by Aliyev, among which the Atatürk Center in Azerbaijan is crucial.
Heydar Aliyev announced the creation of the center based on Article 641 of the Civil Rights of Azerbaijan, which stipulates the opening of the Atatürk Center “for the purpose of learning better the thought of Atatürk, in Turkish history and civilization.”
The center was officially opened on April 10, 2004, with the participation of the country’s current president, İlham Aliyev.
In 1999, the Turkish Republic awarded Heydar Aliyev with “the Atatürk International Peace Prize” for his high attention and great interest in Atatürk.
On that day, Heydar Aliyev summarized his speech with the following words:
“It is a great honor for me to be awarded with the Turkish Peace Price, named after the founder of the Turkish Republic, the great leader Mustafa Kamal Atatürk. I consider it to be the highest of all prizes and awards ever granted to me... For me, for the whole Azerbaijani people, for the independent Azerbaijan state, this is the greatest honor. I’m proud of it. In Atatürk’s great personality, the Republic of Turkey that he created was an example for me. I will always remain loyal to it. I am sure that, Atatürk’s Turkey will always follow his path.”
With another inspiration from Atatürk the Great, Heydar Aliyev switched back from the Cyrillic to Latin alphabet for Azerbaijan. This was a big achievement for the Turkic world to communicate one another.
We, as the Marmara Group Foundation, decided unanimously to award Heydar Aliyev with the “Atatürk Headmaster” prize. This is what he said at the ceremony on Aug. 23, 2002. He told us before the press:
“I receive it with great pleasure, because I’ve done much to spread, agitate, bring to the attention of our people and make use of Atatürk’s ideas. As a political figure, leader and president, these ideas have a special place in my activities. It isn’t accidental that I’ve laid down the foundation of Atatürk Center in Azerbaijan. As you know, much will be done there. The founder of the Turkish Republic is such a great person that, we try to speak about him as much as possible. The investigation on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s life and activity is very important. The Atatürk Center in Azerbaijan will fulfill these affairs. It will reveal Atatürk’s opinions, affairs and unknown facts on Azerbaijan. It seems to me that I have to be a teacher in this field. As a headmaster, my duty is to teach other teachers how to realize Atatürk’s ideas.”
Center a place of knowledge
Peace requires braveness, far-sightedness and realism.
It is impossible to ignore Heydar Aliyev, a man of peace, when writing the story of the Soviet Union, one of the 20th century’s two superpowers.
He is one of the rare people who could foresee the end of the historical process which resulted in the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
His high belief in Atatürk’s “Peace at home, Peace in the world” philosophy stemmed from the importance he attaches to peace. That’s why he was always a defender of the Atatürk philosophy both in theory and practice. Therefore, the philosophy of existence of the Atatürk Center in Azerbaijan derives from here.
Heydar Aliyev’s project was implemented by his son İlham Aliyev. From start to finish, the initiator of this magnificent project had been Professor Dr. Nizami Jafarov, a member of parliament.
Jafarov, who heads this important center, is one of the best academics specializing in the Turkic world. The Atatürk Center in Azerbaijan is not only an institution of education, but also a living organization of social and cultural events.
It has published 24 issues of a magazine entitled “Bulletin” and published 72 books for the public. In addition, almost 300 conferences and symposiums have been held; opinions and papers have been conducted as well.
We, as the Marmara Group Foundation, have organized various workshops, important and productive meetings at various times at the Atatürk Center in Azerbaijan.
We commemorate Heydar Aliyev with gratitude that he created this valuable home of knowledge.