On May 28, 1918 the first parliamentary democracy in the Muslim world - Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) was founded with the adoption of Declaration on Independence, where establishment of friendly relations with all nations and neighboring states was determined as one of the foreign policy priorities.
Despite the internal and external challenges arising from the collapse of an empire, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic succeeded in setting effective state institutions, upholding the rights of all its citizens, gaining the trust and respect of the international community. Universal suffrage, as well as women’s rights to vote, was guaranteed. The newly formed Republic made education a primary concern and it aspired for long-term human capital investment by providing scholarships for hundreds of young students to study in leading European universities. Azerbaijani was declared the official language, the national tricolor flag and anthem were adopted, a modern theater and opera were established, Azerbaijani postage stamps were printed and a national Azerbaijani currency - Manat, was issued.
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first of its kind in the entire Muslim East, where the Parliament was a democratically-elected and multi-party and the government was formed on the basis of accountability and separation of powers.
The first major breakthrough in diplomatic relations came when the parliamentary delegation of Azerbaijan, headed by Alimardan Topchubashov, visited Paris with the main goal to gain international recognition for Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. Members of the delegation to the Paris Peace Conference impressed foreign dignitaries with respect to their ideas of liberty, rights and justice. Unanimous de-facto recognition of the independence of Azerbaijan was attained and the Azerbaijani mission received an invitation to the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference.
Once recognition had been established, the government’s focus shifted towards building a competent diplomatic corps.
In 1919, when Azerbaijani diplomacy took its first steps, diplomatic missions of 16 states functioned in Baku, including the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Iran, Poland and Ukraine. Diplomatic missions and General Consulates of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic were established in Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Ukraine and other countries.
The Bolsheviks invasion of April 1920 put an end to the independence of ADR.
As the successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the Republic of Azerbaijan restored its independence in 1991. Unfortunately, the difficulties faced by the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, including Armenia’s territorial claims and aggression, engulfed the Republic of Azerbaijan as well since regaining its independence in 1991.
The policies pursued later by the national leader Heydar Aliyev developed the sense of national identity by reviving our deep historical and cultural memory, as well as by instilling a firm conviction for preserving and strengthening our independence and statehood.
Today, the Azerbaijani people treasuring the statehood policy of the national leader Heydar Aliyev celebrate the National Day of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the heightened sense of pride.
Nowadays, the Republic of Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev as the independent, sovereign and democratic country brings into the reality the aspirations and ideals of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic with its good and effective management, socio-economic and human capital development as well as its growing role and prestige in international relations.