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Ümummilli Lider Heydər Əliyev


As Azerbaijan developed and strengthened its independent status, it also looked to its foreign policy and to restoring links with compatriots living abroad; it declared itself the guarantor of the interests of the world’s Azerbaijanis.
While Heydar Aliyev was still chairman of the Ali Mejlis (Supreme Assembly) of the Republic of Nakhchivan he took the lead in establishing World Azerbaijanis` Solidarity Day. The holiday was given state status. At the end of 1999 Heydar Aliyev, by now President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, addressed the world’s Azerbaijanis and noted: “The celebration of World Azerbaijanis` Solidarity Day on 31 December as a state holiday is the logical outcome of our people’s struggle for national-liberation and is already a fine tradition. This day of solidarity reflects the revival, progress and national unity of the Azerbaijani people, with their ancient and rich history and, in mobilising them to the sacred and responsible struggle for national statehood, it is a day of belief and hope for every Azerbaijani. The international solidarity of Azerbaijanis assumes ever greater meaning and significance on the threshold of the 21st century. The major successes achieved in all areas of state building in our country since independence, open up ample opportunities for Azerbaijan to assume an honourable position within the world community and at the same time allow the world’s Azerbaijanis to exercise their national and international rights. To build on our successes we should rally more closely to our independent state, which embodies the state symbols of Azerbaijan and do our utmost to ensure its progress”.
The Azerbaijani diaspora has gone through a developmental phase. In comparison with classical diasporas such as the Jewish and Greek ones, that of the Azerbaijani is quite young. It develops as a result of compatriots coming together in organizational structures (expatriates’ communities, societies, national-cultural associations) to preserve their national-cultural origins, language and the nation’s spiritual legacy. Since Azerbaijan’s declaration of independence, organisation of the diaspora has been taken under the state’s wing.
Heydar Aliyev set the priorities for governmental relations with the diaspora at the 1st congress of World Azerbaijanis “Irrespective of place of residence, everyone should think of the homeland. This is independent Azerbaijan. Therefore, irrespective of where you are, in what country you live, you should always think of Azerbaijan, about the independence of Azerbaijan, its territorial integrity, the present and the future of the Azerbaijani nation.”
The main law regulating relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and its expatriates is The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on state policy connected with Azerbaijanis living abroad, dated 27 December 2002.