November 18, 2014

Presentation of “Baku-2015” first European Games in Istanbul

Presentation of “Baku-2015” first European Games took place at Istanbul’s “Chyraghan” Palace.


Azerbaijan’s First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Chairperson of the European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the ceremony: 


Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!


Dear Friends.


Respected Guests.


I’m very pleased to be in brotherly Turkey. It is very pleasing to see you and welcome this evening in Istanbul, one of the most beautiful cities of the world, with a thousand-year history. Thank you very much for being with us this evening. The word unity reflects the features of the Turkish and Azerbaijani peoples. For centuries we have been side-by-side, and strong ties are linking our nations. Although, during the former Soviet period, our relations had been artificially cut off for 70 years, mutual love and respects have always lived in the hearts of our peoples.


We have always supported each-other. And I think Azerbaijan and Turkey are two the most brotherly states in the world.


After Azerbaijan regained its state independence, relations between our countries were restored and lifted to a completely different level. Today, our cooperation covers almost all areas. Political relations are at the highest level. Economic ties are increasing year-by-year. Turkey accounts for the biggest part of Azerbaijan’s investments into foreign countries’ economy. Our relations cover also cultural and educational spheres. Hundreds of Azerbaijani students study in Turkey’s higher schools, universities. Azerbaijan and Turkey have built successful cooperation within the framework of international organizations. Azerbaijani-Turkish unity is a sign of stability in the region we live in. Large-scale projects we have jointly implemented in the energy and transport sectors  are of great importance not only for the region, but also for the world at large. Turkey and Azerbaijan are the driving forces of TANAP Project. To be commissioned next year, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will link Asia with Europe. Our peoples’ brotherhood and our states’ will lay in the foundation of all these successful projects, successful programmes. In Azerbaijan, we rejoice at Turkey’s successes as our own. We are glad Turkey has been on the path of rapid development and progress during the last ten years. Being a member of the Great Twenty, Turkey has been contributing to solution of universal problems.


Azerbaijan has, during the last ten years, become the most rapidly developing country of the world. Economic growth for the last ten years has been threefold, budgetary spending increased twentyfold, poverty and unemployment level went down to 5 per cent. Over 3000 new school buildings have been constructed and repaired. Historical and cultural monuments are restored, at the same time, new cultural establishments, museums, exhibition salons built. Azerbaijan’s position on the international arena is strengthening year-by-year, and today Azerbaijan is recognized as a reliable partner in the world. It is by no coincidence that, by a decision of the European Olympic Committee, the first  European games will be held in Baku. This decision has been welcomed by the people of Azerbaijan with pleasure and great support.


Dear friends, although the Olympic movement was born in Europe and later rehabilitated in Europe, no European games have been held so far. To accept hosting of such large-scale competitions that will enter the history as the first European Games, and be prepared  for holding them is, of course, great honour and responsibility. Today, Azerbaijan is known to the world as a country of sport. Supporting sport and the Olympic movement is one of the main directions of the state’s policy. After regaining our state independence, we have been participating in Olympic games since 1996, and, in a short space of time, our sportsmen have reached great achievements. Number of the medals won is increasing constantly. At the last Olympic Games, our national team has won ten medals, two of them being gold, whereby it was the 15th among the European countries and 30th among the participants at large. Construction of the sports infrastructure in the country and their modernization is approached with much attention. During the last ten years, over 50 new modern Olympic centres have been built in the regions of Azerbaijan. Number of the youth engaged in sport, choosing sport as a profession is growing year-by-year, and new perspectives and opportunities are facing them. At the youth Olympic Games held this year in China, our young athletes won 12 medals, 5 of them being gold, whereby took the tenth place among some two hundred countries. Our country has gained great experience in hosting various international sport events. World and European champions are held on various types of sport, and high-level preparation for such events are noted both by sportsmen and the sports society. In one word, taking all these factors, achievements of our athletes, strong state support to sport’s development, existing sports infrastructure and, of course, the country’s general rapid development, the European Olympic Committee resolved to hold these Games in Azerbaijan. Over 6 thousand athletes are expected to take part in these Games, and competitions on twenty sport types will be held. The first European Games will open a new page in Europe’s sports history.  Of course, the first games will set the level and standards of the future games. Although two and a half years have been allocated for the preparation works, Azerbaijan is determined to hold these games at the level of Olympic games. All necessary actions are taken and steps made to this end. We have formed a strong Organizing Committee. We have built a very successful cooperation with international organizations, the European Olympic Committee and international sports federations, and numerous volunteers are ready to help us. And I’m hopeful the first European Games will be held in an environment of just, sound competition, friendship and solidarity.


In conclusion, dear friends, taking this opportunity, I would like to invite you to Baku, Azerbaijan, to watch the first European Games.


I would like to once more thank you for being with us this evening. Istanbul is a very close and beloved city for me. The unique environment of this city has been created, along with its beautiful nature and cultural monuments, by you, people living in this city, and I would like to thank you for your hospitality.


I wish brotherly Turkey peace, tranquillity and future successes. 

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