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Integration of the Turkic world is an inevitable process

Interview with  Chairman of the Milli Majlis Cultural Committee, head of Ataturk Center Nizami Jafarov

Q: As we know the government pays big attention to developing culture in the country. We would like you to highlight the government policy on this front?

A:We know very well and it is globally recognized that Azerbaijan is one of the most ancient countries with rich culture. Even despite we were not independent and lived within certain empires at some points in history, we have always had our culture, national and moral values develop.for example, the Azerbaijani people created Kitabibb Dede Korkut, Koroglu eposes, and raised great personalities such M.P.Vagif, M.F.Axundzade, C.Mammadquluzade, M.A.Sabir, H.Cavid, S.Vurgun. We have numerous historical monuments, including Maiden Tower, SHirvanshahs Palace, Momine Khatun Memorial, Shaki Khan`s Palace and others. I would also like to mention ancient Gobustan. The people of Azerbaijan also have rich musical legacy, fine arts, drawing, carpet weaving. 

Azerbaijan music, enriching world musical culture with its rare pearls, has multi-centuries old traditions. Creators of folk music, handed over these traditions to generations, have great role in development of Azerbaijan music. Folk songs, dances, ashug creation (folk poet and singer) have specific place in Azerbaijan national music.

National leader Heydar Aliyev, who returned to power at the request of people, defined the country`s cultural policy in the late 20th century. The national leader allocated great funds to develop culture, literature, arts. And this policy today successfully continues.

One of the core principles of the government`s cultural policy is that it takes into account individuality of arts and culture in our country. for example, Samad Vurgun is born, and he takes Azerbaijani poetry forward for centuries. Uzeyir Hajibayli gives impetus to the development of music, Sattar Bahlulzade creates great culture. So individuals occupy a special place in our culture.

Q: The spring session of the Milli Majlis has kicked off. What draft laws is the Cultural Committee planning to discuss?

A: The Cultural Committee plans to raise a number of issues at the spring session, A couple of days ago our committee held a meeting. We decided to submit several bills to the plenary session of the Milli Majlis. One of these documents is a draft law on creative persons and creative associations. This bill was adopted at the first hearing. But there are some disputed points that, I hope, will be solved at the second hearing. We are completing work on this project. The disputed points are related to creative associations and NGOs as some of deputies mixed these two notions. By creative associations we mean, for example, Poets Union, Artists Unions, Composers Unions, and similar organizations. We believe that creative associations cannot be confused with NGOs. The reason is that creative associations have big history, they group people who build our culture, arts. This issue has always been at the forefront of government attention.

National leader Heydar always attached particular emphasis to this area, he put forward initiatives even under such a complex regime as the Soviet Union.

After returning to power national leader Heydar Aliyev allocated necessary funds to all creative and culture associations. This helped them start publishing their own journals and magazines. This attention is today paid by our head of state.

The other disputed issue is about the funding of creative unions and associations.

We are also working on other draft laws, which is almost ready for discussions. They cover mugham, ashug arts, and culinary.

Another issue, which was discussed at the last meeting, is related to carper weaving. As you know we have Azerilme. It is a very popular company. President of the company Vidadi Muradov, who attended the discussions, proposed adopting such a law aimed at ensuring the acess of Azerbaijani carpets to world markets.

Q: Laws on language are also regularly improved. How would you assess the situation in this area?

A: As you know we regularly make supplements and amendments to the law on state language.

The approval by President Ilham Aliyev of the State Program on the use of Azerbaijani language in the context of globalization in accordance with the requirements of the time, and the development of linguistics in the country was a remarkable event. The program envisages the strengthening of government support for the use and study of the Azerbaijani language, the use of the Azerbaijani language in the context of globalization in accordance with the requirements of time, improvement of linguistic researches, and other issues.

The use of the Azerbaijani language and its study as one of the national and state symbols has created favorable conditions for improvement of the linguistic sciences in the country. Another positive factor is the wide application of advanced technologies in the context of globalization.

Q: What can you say of the integration in the Turkic world? Kazakhstan has recently switched to Latin alphabet. What is your vision of integration prospects, in general?

A: Both Economic, political and cultural integration is inevitable in the Turkic world. We already have this process developing. However, it creates several problems, but we are strongly interested in tackling these challenges. Kazakhstan`s switch to Latin alphabet was a long process. Approximately 10 years ago Kazakh specialists visited our country to conduct discussions and study our experience of switching to Latin alphabet. The Kazakh specialists also studied Turkey`s experience. And as a result of hard work Kazakhstan decided to switch to Latin alphabet. Of course, there were certain problems and challenges because there are people of various ethnicities in Kazakhstan. Large part of the population is Russian speaking. But Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev is a wise man, he is one of the elders of the Turkic world. He has played an outstanding role in strengthening integration in the Turkic world. And he made a tremendous contribution to this process too.

Q: Do you think Kazakhstan`s experience can give stimulus to other Turkic speaking states?

A: Kazakhstan`s switching to Latin alphabet is regarded a remarkable event in the whole Turkic world. This process has already got underway in Uzbekistan too. Kazakhstan is a large country. Kazakh language is the most popular language of Kipchak languages. This creates wide opportunities for other Kipchak Turks, Kyrgyzs, Bashkirs, Tatars to switch to Latin alphabet.

In general integration in the Turkic world is inevitable. Common alphabet will help us bring our nations and people closer to each other. We will have an opportunity to read and understand our literature, press, which is of great importance. Cultural integration in the Turkic worldis very significant as it paves the way for closer political ties.