Edited by Anna Popper

With the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation, the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Hungary organised a grand feast on the occasion of May 28 – Independence Day and the 100th anniversary of the birth of National Leader Heydar Aliyev in the beautiful garden of the neoclassical Ybl Villa in Budapest, seat of the Budapest Office of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS).

The event was attended by representatives of the Hungarian National Assembly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Defence, and other state institutions, members of the diplomatic corps, ambassadors and senior diplomats from more than 20 countries, representatives of business, academic and cultural circles, as well as members of the Azerbaijani community, including students studying in Hungary.

Azerbaijan and Hungary established diplomatic relations in 1992. The ties between the two countries have developed successfully in the political, economic and cultural fields over the past 31 years and have reached the level of strategic partnership.

The celebration started with the national anthems of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Hungary,

followed by the greetings of H.E. Mr. Tahir Taghizade, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Hungary, welcoming the large number of invitees present, and the guests of honour: Mr. Sándor Lezsák – Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, Mrs. Gunay Afandiyeva – President of the International Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation, Mr. Fargan Novruzov – First Deputy Director of the Heydar Aliyev Center, and addressed the audience:

May 28 marks the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) 105 years ago – the first parliamentary republic in the Muslim world. The Republic of Azerbaijan, which restored its independence on 18 October 1991, is the successor of the ADR. Azerbaijan’s National Leader, Heydar Aliyev, played an essential role in lifting the country out of political and economic instability in the early years of its independence. He devoted his entire life to faithfully serving his homeland and its people. The Great Leader can be historically paralleled with the Hungarian politicians of the 19th century, such as Count Gyula Andrássy, Hungarian Prime Minister (1867-1871) and Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister (1871–79); and Lajos Kossuth, Prime Minister of Hungary (1848-1849). In 1994, after being elected President of the country, Heydar Aliyev visited Budapest.

In 2014, the current President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev also visited Budapest. In January 2023 he paid an official visit to Hungary, during which a Joint Declaration on enhanced strategic partnership between the two countries was signed. The visit demonstrated high level of brotherly relations between our countries and two leaders, President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.”

“2023 has been an important year for our bilateral cooperation in all aspects: in February, the 9th meeting of the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation between the Governments of Azerbaijan and Hungary was held in Budapest, which included the Azerbaijani-Hungarian business forum with large participation of 87 companies. Azerbaijani Minister of Economy, Mikayil Jabbarov visited Hungary, and Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Economic Development, Márton Nagy, and Minister of Agriculture, István Nagy visited Azerbaijan this year. Most recently, Zsolt Bunford, Deputy State Secretary of MFAT was in Baku. The visit of Hungarian Defence Minister, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky will take place soon in Azerbaijan.

In March, Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov attended the 3rd Meeting of the Ministers in charge of Energy of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) in Budapest. In April, SOCAR and operators of gas transmission networks from Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia signed a memorandum of understanding in Sofia on the implementation of the Solidarity Ring (STRING) gas corridor project.

Regarding cultural cooperation between our countries, a Memorandum of Understanding on establishing friendly ties between the city of Shusha in Azerbaijan and the city of Veszprém in Hungary was signed during the aforementioned visit of the President of Azerbaijan to Hungary. Special Representative of the President of Azerbaijan in Shusha, Aydin Karimov and President of the Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation, Gunay Afandiyeva attended the grand opening ceremony of the European Capital of Culture in Veszprém.

This year was rich in bilateral visits. Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Sándor Lezsák visited Baku and met with the Speaker of the Milli Majlis (National Assembly), Sahiba Gafarova.

The Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of Azerbaijan, Sabina Aliyeva visited Hungary together with her counterparts from Türkiye, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan at the invitation of the Hungarian Ombudsman Mr. Ákos Kozma. They attended the international conference of the Turkic States Ombudsman Association in Budapest.

We cooperate not only on bilateral but also on multilateral level. The Organization of Turkic States is an important platform in this regard. Bringing Turkic world together was one of Heydar Aliyev’s key foreign policy objectives. Today we have achieved this goal and are working to further strengthen our brotherhood. The Independence Day event held at Ybl villa in partnership with the OTS Representation Office in Budapest clearly demonstrates the high level of cooperation.

With the relevant decree of the President of Azerbaijan, 2023 was declared “Heydar Aliyev Year”, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of his birth.

In this regard, with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation we have held a number of events and will organise more by the end of the year. The Youth Forum, the TEQ Cup 2023 brought together young people from Turkic countries. Classical music concert, conference dedicated to the Contract of the Century and futsal tournament are among the events planned for this year. I would like to invite all of you to be our guests at the classic music concert that will be held at the Liszt Academy on the 16th June.

With all of the mentioned events and the Independence Day reception, we honour the legacy of Heydar Aliyev, which is a strong and prosperous Azerbaijan, not only the biggest state in the South Caucasus, but also an active, respected player in a much broader political scale.”

Special guest of the event, Mr. Sándor Lezsák, Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, took the floor and conveyed his heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to the leaders and people of Azerbaijan for their remarkable achievements on the occasion of the Independence Day. He welcomed the friendship and strategic partnership, the active bilateral political dialogue and the growing economic and cultural ties between the two countries in many areas.

He was also pleased to announce that between 4-6 August 2023 the Hungarian Turan Association will again hold the traditional celebration called Great Kurultaj – a Hungarian Tribal Assembly in Bugac, a village in south-eastern Hungary, the largest festival based on millenary steppe-nomadic traditions and horse culture in the Carpathian Basin.

Article about the 2022 Kurultaj: https://press.agency/kurultaj-2022-assembly-of-the-hungarian-tribes

After the official part of the event, the audience enjoyed the performance of the “Karabakh” folk music ensemble led by Mansum Ibrahimov.

The music program of the group “Seven Beauties”, composed of female musicians representing Turkic states, conducted by the composer and pianist Turan Manafzadeh, playing Azerbaijani melodies, deserved big applause from the guests.

Source: Embassy of Azerbaijan in Budapest