|4th President of Azerbaijan|
31 October 2003
|Prime Minister||Artur Rasizade|
|Preceded by||Heydar Aliyev|
|7th Prime Minister of Azerbaijan|
4 August 2003 – 4 November 2003
|Preceded by||Artur Rasizade|
|Succeeded by||Artur Rasizade|
|Leader of the New Azerbaijan Party|
31 October 2003
|Preceded by||Heydar Aliyev|
|Born||İlham Heydər oğlu Əliyev
24 December 1961
Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||New Azerbaijan Party|
|Spouse(s)||Mehriban Pashayeva (1983–present)|
|Alma mater||Moscow State Institute of International Relations|
Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev (Azerbaijani: İlham Heydər oğlu Əliyev; born 24 December 1961) 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. Ilham Aliyev is the son of Heydar Aliyev, who was Azerbaijan's president from 1993 to 2003.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Political career
- 4 Controversies
- 5 Public image
- 6 Honours and medals
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Aliyev was born in Baku in 1961. 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 1985–1990 Aliyev lectured at MSUIR.
Ilham Aliyev married Mehriban Aliyeva 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.
In May or June 1994, Ilham Aliyev was appointed vice-president of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). He participated as one of the key figures during the negotiations between Azerbaijani government and Western oil companies during the conclusion of new contracts now known as Contract of the century. The following year Aliyev was elected to the National Assembly of Azerbaijan and later became president of the National Olympic Committee (still incumbent) and head of the Azerbaijan delegation to the Council of Europe. In August 2003, two months prior to the presidential elections, he was appointed prime minister. In October that year, Heydar Aliyev, suffering failing health, stepped down as president.
The official results of the October 15, 2003, elections gave victory to Ilham Aliyev, who earned 76.84% of the votes.
Protests were staged in Azerbaijan to dispute the results, and the elections received criticism from the international community, with many observers noting that they fell short of international standards and were accompanied by voter intimidation, unequal campaign opportunities for the candidates, and widespread violations of the electoral laws and process. Some members of the opposition were arrested in conjunction with the protests, but were later released. The OSCE International Election Observation Mission noted a number of irregularities in the counting and tabulation.Human Rights Watch complained that Aliyev's election campaign had been supported by government resources and that the Central Election Commission and local election commissions had been stacked with its supporters, while local non-governmental organizations had been banned from monitoring the vote. According to Freedom House; however, the opposition underestimated Ilham Aliyev's popularity and anti-government parties wrongly assumed their views were shared by the majority public.
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 and freedom of the press was restricted.
In 2009, following his reelection as president, Aliyev passed a referendum which removed the presidential consecutive term limit, thereby allowing him to run for president as many times as he wishes. 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: for the first time in Azerbaijani history, not a single candidate from the main opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front or Musavat parties was elected. The Economist subsequently scored Azerbaijan as an authoritarian regime, 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. Aliyev has responded by ordering a security crackdown, using force to crush attempts at revolt in Baku. Officials loyal to the president have dismissed protesters' comparison of Azerbaijan to other countries considered to be part of the same revolutionary wave that has rocked North Africa and Western Asia since December 2010, and Aliyev has rejected the precedent set by leaders in Armenia, Oman, Jordan, and other affected states by refusing to make concessions. Well over 400 Azerbaijanis have been arrested since protests began in March 2011. Opposition leaders, including Musavat's Isa Gambar, have vowed to continue demonstrating, although police have encountered little difficulty in stopping protests almost as soon as they begin. As president, Aliyev earns a salary of close to $230,000 a year. Amnesty International in its Media Briefing of 2012 reported that the "crackdown on the free speech has intensified in recent years". The report highlighted that "In Azerbaijan, people who exercise this fundamental right [freedom of speech] to criticise President Ilham Aliyev, his family or government, risk being threatened, attacked or imprisoned – whether they do so on- or off-line".
The presidential elections were held on 9 October 2013. Aliyev won with 85 percent of the vote, securing a third five-year term. A day before voting began, a smartphone application run by the Central Election Commission showed Aliyev winning the election with 72.76 percent of the vote, suggesting that the election results were prefabricated. Azerbaijani officials claimed 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, Ilham Aliyev faced criticism from the United States and Amnesty International for election 'irregularities' along with crackdowns against journalists and opposition activists, including the jailing of election monitors.
Ilham Aliyev's image remains largely controversial. He has been criticized for his authoritarian rule and sometimes described as the head of corruption in Europe by analysts and political commentators. Aliyev's government has been listed as one of the most corrupt in Europe by Transparency International.
Party affiliations and foreign relations
On March 26, 2005, Aliyev was officially elected as the ruling New Azerbaijan Party chairman. The opposition denounced this as a violation of state laws, because according to the law on political parties, the president should have no party affiliation.
In April 2006, President Aliyev made a state visit to Washington, D.C. It was a remarkably successful trip, at least in terms of image. 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", although he also said the meeting was "candid" – sometimes a code word for "tense". Opposition groups said that an official meeting with President Bush sent an inappropriate signal that the violence and intimidation of the 2005 parliamentary election was now a closed matter.
In 2010, WikiLeaks uncovered a diplomatic cable dispatched by the US Embassy in the Republic of Azerbaijan, part of the cache of documents obtained by the WikiLeaks website, that explicitly compared Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to a mafia crime boss, leaving many to wonder if his government was actually democratic and whether people truthfully believed that Azerbaijan does not repress minority populations. A number of groups have also complained to the Commission on Human Rights for the purpose of adopting a resolution, which urges Azerbaijan to guarantee the preservation of the cultural, religious and national identity of the Talysh people in light of repeated claims of repression.
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."
In 2012 the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) named Ilham Aliyev Person of the Year (a title bestowed for figuring prominently in 2012 on stories on crime and corruption) after "well-documented evidence" revealed that "his family has secret ownership stakes in the country’s largest businesses including bank, construction companies, gold mines and phone companies". According to ICIJ latest report, Aliyev's family has been a shareholder of big offshore companies. As reported by The Washington Post and Mail Online, Aliyev's two daughters share a property portfolio of about £50 million – across Dubai, Paris and London and Aliyev's 11-year-old son in Dubai owns "nine waterfront mansions" with a total price of "about $44 million – or roughly 10,000 years' worth of salary for the average citizen of Azerbaijan".
- Aliyev's photo is shown in the final frames of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) implying misleadingly that he is the president of Borat's fictionalised Kazakhstan.
- On 22 February 2012, American television channel CNBC aired the documentary Filthy Rich, which explored Aliyev’s family's real estate holdings abroad.
Honours and medals
National honours and medals
- 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 İsmoili 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 °
- 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 
- United States – Honorary Doctor of Lincoln 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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The 51-year-old Aliyev has been president of the authoritarian, oil-rich Caspian Sea nation since taking over from his ailing father Heydar in October 2003.
- Vincent, Rebecca (19 May 2013). "When the music dies: Azerbaijan one year after Eurovision". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
Over the past several years, Azerbaijan has become increasingly authoritarian, as the authorities have used tactics such as harassment, intimidation, blackmail, attack and imprisonment to silence the regime's critics, whether journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders, political activists, or ordinary people taking to the streets in protest.
- McGuinness, Damien (28 May 2013). "Cracking down on dissent in Ilham Aliyev's Azerbaijan". BBC News. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
But according to human rights groups, the charges are trumped up - an authoritarian government's attempt to stamp out any Arab Spring-style uprising, they say.
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The board of directors includes senior executives from ExxonMobil, Chevron, Cono- coPhilips, and Coca-Cola, while the trustees include Azerbaijan's dictator, Ilham Aliyev, and top neoconservative Richard Perle.
- Neukirch, Ralf (4 January 2012). "A Dictator's Dream: Azerbaijan Seeks to Burnish Image Ahead of Eurovision". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
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Prince Andrew has developed a 'close friendship' with a billionaire dictator accused of torturing protesters, and lobbied the president of another of the world's 'most corrupt' countries, it has emerged.
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- OCCRP Names Aliyev "Person Of The Year". December 2012
- The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Offshore companies provide link between corporate mogul and Azerbaijan’s president
- Washington Post. Pricey real estate deals in Dubai raise questions about Azerbaijan's president
- MailOnline. Filthy rich: Britain's favourite dictatorship had so much oil its heiresses bathe in it... but beneath the fabulous wealth of Azerbaijan lurks very murky secrets
- Radio Liberty Azerbaijani President's Daughters Tied To Fast-Rising Telecoms Firm
- "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan".
- "Azerbaijani president included in 500 most influential Muslims of world book".
- Президент Азербайджана вошел в книгу 500 самых влиятельных мусульман мира (in Russian).
- Filthy Rich about Aliyev. Full video
- "Azerbaijan: In Solidarity with Khadija Ismayilova". Human Rights House Foundation. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- Scott Cohn. "The Filthy Rich". CNBC. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
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- Алиев Ильхам Президент Республики Азербайджан. broken link
- Official Azerbaijan president website
- Official YouTube channel of the President of Azerbaijan
- BBC profile: Ilham Aliyev
- Political portrait of Ilham Aliyev
- Speeches, statements, interviews, declarations of the Azerbaijan Republic President Ilham Aliyev
- Ilham Aliyev and oil diplomacy of Azerbaijan
|Prime Minister of Azerbaijan
|President of Azerbaijan