Heydar Aliyev meets the participants of TURKSOY Conference
We must protect our native language in order to survive and throw off the oppression that we have overcome so far. Despite some differences between Turkish languages, their roots are the same. I do not think there is any need to assimilate our language, say, to the Tatar language, or the Kyrgyz language to our language. For centuries, our languages have been shaped in this way.
The development of our languages was also hampered by the difficulty of making a greater use of it. Therefore, I issued a decree on the Azerbaijani language to ensure the transition to the Latin alphabet. The only thing I decided to make the number one priority in my life was a need to develop further our language. If any nation is deprived of its own language, it will lose a lot. But when a nation has its native language, nothing is able to change it. Thank God that Azerbaijani is perfect offering outstanding possibilities. Our language is rich in terms of vocabulary. It is a language of poetry. I have addressed many events or sessions here or in Turkey - and I remember after my addresses once or twice Suleyman Demirel, a friend of mine, said “it was like rhyming.” “I was making a speech, not reading verses,” I answered him. And he used to say that the Azerbaijani language is so poetic that sometimes you do not understand whether “you make a speech or read poetry.” Speaking about Istanbul Turkish, we should underline the fact that Turkish has also suffered too much throughout its entire history. During the Ottoman Empire, the Persian and Arabic languages were dominant at the palace. The development of Turkey’s Turkish is attributable to Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Thanks to him, today’s Turkish language has reached the heights of development. I've laid down the foundation ofAtatürk Centre in Azerbaijan. Because Atatürk is loved not only by Anadolu Turks, but also by the Azerbaijan people. I was aware of the difficult state of the Turkish language. If Ataturk didn't take a decision about the language, today the Turks wouldn't have such a beautiful language. Therefore, the language plays an important role in the development of each nation.
I have said this before, and today once again I say it: I always advise our young people to know Russian, English, Persian, Arabic and French well. But primarily, you must learn and know our Azerbaijani language. If you do not speak this language, you are not a full Azerbaijani. It's true, isn't it? I express this idea because the development of a language is one of the main tasks of TURKSOY. There’s no need to tie our languages or look for similarities in, and compare, them. For example, I understand only half of Turkmen language as well as you do. The Turkmen and Azerbaijani languages are closer to each other. But the Turkish and Azerbaijani languages are the same.