Ilham Aliyev

Ilham Aliyev

Ilham Aliyev
Azerbaijani President Aliyev Participate in a Meeting With Secretary Kerry and Other Global Leaders on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in Vienna (26452164084).jpg
4th President of Azerbaijan
Assumed office
31 October 2003
Prime Minister Artur Rasizade

Novruz Mammadov

Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva
Preceded by Heydar Aliyev
7th Prime Minister of Azerbaijan
In office
4 August 2003 – 4 November 2003
President Heydar Aliyev
Preceded by Artur Rasizade
Succeeded by Artur Rasizade
Leader of the New Azerbaijan Party
Assumed office
31 October 2003
Preceded by Heydar Aliyev
Personal details
Born İlham Heydər oğlu Əliyev
(1961-12-24) 24 December 1961 
Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, Soviet Union
Political party New Azerbaijan Party
Spouse(s) Mehriban Pashayeva (1983–present)
Children Leyla
Alma mater Moscow State Institute of International Relations
Religion Shia Islam

Ilham Aliyev (Azerbaijani: İlham Heydər oğlu Əliyev; ) is the fourth and current President of Azerbaijan, in office since 2003. He also functions as the Chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party and the head of the National Olympic Committee.

Early life

Aliyev was born on December 24, 1961, in Baku. In 1977, Aliyev entered the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-MSIIR) and in 1982 continued his education as a postgraduate. In 1985 he received a PhD degree in history. From 1985 to 1990 Aliyev lectured at MSUIR. From 1991 to 1994, he led a group of private industrial-commercial enterprises.

In 1994-2003, he was the vice-president, and later the first vice-president of the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). He had been actively involved in the implementation of Heydar Aliyev’s oil strategy. He is an author of numerous research works on geopolitical aspects of oil strategy of sovereign Azerbaijan. He holds a degree of doctor of political sciences.

Since 1997, Mr. Ilham Aliyev is the President of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan. For his contribution to the development of sports and Olympic movement, Mr. Aliyev was awarded the highest order of International Olympic Committee and “Grand Cordon” Order of Merit of International Military Sport Council.

Personal life

Ilham Aliyev married Mehriban Pashayeva in Baku on 22 December 1983. They have three children: Leyla, Arzu and Heydar. Apart from his native Azerbaijani, he is fluent in English, French, Russian and Turkish.Ilham Aliyev is the son of Heydar Aliyev, who was President of Azerbaijan from 1993 to 2003.

Political career

Early years

In May or June 1994, Ilham Aliyev was appointed as vice-president of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). He participated as one of the key figures during the negotiations between the Azerbaijani government and Western oil companies during the conclusion of new contracts now known as the “Contract of the Century”. In 1995, Aliyev was elected to the Parliament of Republic of Azerbaijan; later he became president of the National Olympic Committee (still incumbent).

From 2001 to 2003, Aliyev was elected head of Azerbaijani delegation to Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE). Following that, in January 2003, he was elected Deputy-Chairman and bureau member of PACE. In April 2004, Mr. Aliyev was awarded with a medal and diploma of honorable member of PACE for his active participation in PACE events and commitment to European values. In August 2003, two months prior to the presidential elections, he was appointed as Prime Minister.

2003 election

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is greeted by Ilham Aliyev, August 2004
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is greeted by Ilham Aliyev, August 2004

The official results of the October 15, 2003, elections gave victory to Ilham Aliyev, who earned 76.84% of the votes.

2008 election

Ilham Aliyev was re-elected in 2008 with 87% of the polls, while opposition parties boycotted the elections. In a constitutional referendum in 2009, term limits for the presidency were abolished. The opposition claimed this to be a violation of the Azerbaijani constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The 2010 parliamentary elections produced a Parliament completely loyal to Aliyev. The Economist subsequently scored Azerbaijan at 140th place (out of 167) in its 2011 Democracy Index.

Repeated protests were staged against Aliyev’s rule in 2011, calling for more democracy and the ouster of the government. Officials loyal to the president dismissed protesters’ comparison of Azerbaijan to other countries considered to be part of the same revolutionary wave that rocked North Africa and Western Asia beginning in December 2010, and Aliyev rejected the precedent set by leaders in Armenia, Oman, Jordan, and other affected states by refusing to make concessions.

Well over 400 radical protestors were arrested after protests began in March 2011. Opposition leaders, including Musavat’s Isa Gambar, vowed to continue demonstrating, although police had little difficulty stopping protests almost as soon as they began. Amnesty International in its Media Briefing of 2012 reported that the “crackdown on the free speech has intensified in recent years”. However, government officials said that report of Amensty International was prepared in a biased manner by expressing only the views of separate individuals which are under the influence of Armenian lobby

2013 election

Ilham Aliyev with his first lady during the Moscow Victory Day Parade, 9 May 2015
Ilham Aliyev with his first lady during the Moscow Victory Day Parade, 9 May 2015

In the 2013 presidential elections, held on 9 October, Aliyev won with 85 percent of the vote, thus securing a third five-year term. A day before voting began, Central Election Commission made testing on its new smartphone application which caused some confusion regarding the results of the election. Later on Central Election Commission said the results were those of the 2008 election, yet the candidates listed were from the 2013 ballot. Aliyev’s main rivals in the election were Jamil Hasanli and Igbal Agazade. In 2013, Amnesty International called on western leaders to present position on jailed activist which was officially charged with tax evasion and illegal business activity.[18] Ilham Aliyev has been criticized for his illiberal rule and sometimes Azerbaijan was perceived as one of corrupt states in Europe by analysts and political commentators.

However, Aliyev’s government demonstrates a steady improvement in international anti-corruption reports; even though, its position in these indexes is weak comparatively to that of neighbouring countries.According to Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Azerbaijan achieved its best position in that year since its inclusion in the report in 2000. Thus, in 2015, Azerbaijan was ranked 119th out of 168 countries compared to 2001 when it was ranked 87th out of 90 countries. Azerbaijan’s score in 2016 CPI went up by one point from the previous year.

TI’s another well known report the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) indicates 69% of respondents consider that the government’s efforts are effective in the fight against corruption and 71% of respondents agree that an ordinary person can make a difference in the fight against corruption in Azerbaijan.Aliyev’s government officially alleged that CPI does not reflect carried out anti-corruption measures in the country, such as CPI is composed of sources which are based on expert views. However, government officials claimed to support results of GCB, considering its results are based on survey of citizens.

ASAN Service, which was established with Presidential Decree on 2012, is internationally recognized for its role in elimination of corruption in public services and received United Nation’s award on public service delivery. ASAN Service is currently researched and applied by world countries Such as France signed memorandum with Azerbaijan in order to apply practice of ASAN Service (mobile service system) in France

Party affiliations and foreign relations

Aliyev and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, D.C., 30 March 2016
Aliyev and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, D.C., 30 March 2016

On March 26, 2005, Aliyev was officially elected as the ruling New Azerbaijan Party chairman. In April 2006, President Aliyev made a state visit to Washington, D.C. It was a remarkably successful trip, at least for the image of the country. Speaking at a public forum sponsored by the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, Aliyev discussed oil, economic development, and democracy with an audience of reporters and others. The visit was capped with a private meeting in the White House with President George W. Bush, who told reporters that their discussion was “really interesting”.

Following that, 44th President of US, Barack Obama invited President Aliyev to attend 4th Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. in March 2016. During visit, President Aliyev was received by Vice President Biden and they discussed cooperation on security issues, including counterterrorism, and the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor to boosting European energy security 

Aliyev with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, 23 January 2012
Aliyev with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, 23 January 2012

During 12–15 March 2017, President Aliyev made official visit to Franceand met with executive officials of international companies SUEZ, DCNS, CIFAL, Space Systems in the Airbus Defence and Space Division. President Aliyev in his meeting with french entrepreneurs stated that illegal activities of some companies in Nagorno-Karabakh is unacceptable and violates international and national laws. Following his visit, Aliyev met with President of French Republic in the Elysee Palace. French President Francois Hollande made a press statement that status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is unacceptable and he urged other co-chairs of the Minsk Group,the United States and Russia, to contribute to this process.


Aliyev with his wife during their visit to Poland.
Aliyev with his wife during their visit to Poland.

Ramil Safarov repatriation

In 2012, Aliyev convinced the government of Hungary to transfer convicted murderer Ramil Safarov to Azerbaijan to complete the rest of his prison term. While attending a NATO-sponsored English-language course in Hungary, Safarov had murdered an Armenian lieutenant who was also taking the course, Gurgen Margaryan, while Margaryan was asleep. Safarov had been tried and sentenced to life imprisonment in Hungary. However, after being extradited to Azerbaijan, Safarov received a hero’s welcome; he was promoted to the rank of major, and given an apartment and over eight years of back pay, covering the time he had spent in jail.

Statements about Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh

Aliyev has been cited as calling all Armenian people in the world as the enemies of Azerbaijan, and as regularly threatening to take over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the entire Armenian Republic through military force.

In 2008, Aliyev declared that “Nagorno Karabakh will never be independent; the position is backed by international mediators as well; Armenia has to accept the reality” and that “in 1918, Yerevan was granted to the Armenians. It was a great mistake. The khanate of Iravan was the Azeri territory, the Armenians were guests there.”

Public image

  • On 21 November 2009, Aliyev was included in the book 500 Most Influential Muslims of World.

Honours and medals

National honours and medals

  •  Azerbaijan – Heydar Aliyev Order °
  •  Azerbaijan – Order of Sheikhulislam °

Foreign honours

  •  Romania – Order of the Star of Romania (2004) °
  •  Saudi Arabia – Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud (2005) °
  •  Georgia – Order of Honor of Georgia °
  •  France – Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor °
  •  Poland – Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland °
  •  Ukraine – First Class of the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (2008)
  •  Kuwait – Order of Mubarak the Great °
  •  Greece – Gold Medal of the Hellenic Republic °
  •  Latvia – Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Three Stars °
  •  Romania – Grand Cross of Faithful Service °
  •  Tajikistan – Order of Ismoili Somoni
  •  Turkey – First Class of the Order of the State of Republic of Turkey (2013)
  •  Ukraine – Order of Liberty (2013) 
  •  Serbia: Order of the Republic of Serbia (2013)[
International organizations
  •  CIS Medal For Distinction in Protection of CIS State Borders and Badge for Strengthening of Border Cooperation (2008) ° 
  •  Turkey – İhsan Doğramacı Prize for International Relations for Peace °
  •  Russia – Prepodobniy Sergiy Rodonejskiy first degree Order of Russian Orthodox Church °
  • International Military Sports Council – Grand Cordon Order of Merit °

Honorary degrees

  •  Turkmenistan – Honorary Professor of the Turkmenistan State University named after Makhtumkuli
  •  Belarus – Honorary Professor of the Belarusian State University
  •  Russia – Honorary Professor of Moscow State University (2008)
  •  Kazakhstan – Honorary Professor of L.N.Gumilev Eurasian National University
  •  Bulgaria – Honorary Professor of University of National and World Economy
  •  China – Honorary Professor of Renmin University
  •  Russia – Honorary Doctor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations
  •  Turkey – Honorary Doctor of Bilkent University
  •  Ukraine – Honorary Doctor of National Academy for Taxes
  •  Romania – Honorary Doctor of Petroleum and Gas University of Ploesti
  •  South Korea – Honorary Doctor of Kyung Hee University
  •  Jordan – Honorary Doctor of University of Jordan
  •  Hungary – Honorary Doctor of Corvinus University of Budapest
  •  Ukraine – Honorary Doctor of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
  •  Azerbaijan – Honorary Doctor of the Baku State University °
  •  Turkey – Honorary Doctor of the Ankara University °
  •  Turkey – Honorary Doctor of the Çukurova University °

The mark ° shows honours mention on his official website


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