The independence of Azerbaijan, which is considered to be the “first democratic republic of the Muslim East”, was declared by the Azerbaijan National Council on May 28, 1918.
In the “Declaration of Independence” accepted by the National Council chaired by Mehmet Emin Resulzade, it was stated that the country would be governed by the republican system.
In a short time, reforms were carried out in the field of economy, education, freedom of religion and conscience in independent Azerbaijan, equal rights were granted to all citizens and women were given the right to vote.
Since Baku was under the occupation of Armenian and Bolshevik gangs, the Azerbaijani government operated in Ganja, the country’s second largest city for a while.
It was the first Ottoman state to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan. An agreement was signed between the two states on June 4, 1918. In this context, the Minister of War Enver Pasha formed an army under the command of his brother Nuri Pasha (Killigil) and sent aid to Azerbaijan.
The army called “Caucasian Islamic Army” liberated Baku on 15 September 1918 and the government moved there. The Caucasian Islamic Army gave 1130 martyrs in the battles for the liberation of Baku.
In a short time, reforms were made in the fields of economy, education, freedom of religion and conscience in Azerbaijan, leading the way in the history of the country. Equal rights were granted to all citizens regardless of race, religion, sect or gender.
Azerbaijan became the first country in the Muslim east to grant women the right to vote. The country’s own currency and postage stamps were introduced, the State Bank and Baku State University were established.
Against external threats, Azerbaijan formed its own army on June 26 and Ottoman officers played an important role in the formation of this army.
With the decision of the government on 27 June 1918, the Turkish language was declared as the state language. In secondary schools, most of which were taught in Russian, Turkish education was made compulsory.
On December 7, 1918, the 120-seat parliament began its activities. The parliament, which represents all political parties and ethnic groups in the country, passed 230 bills during its 17 months of operation.
“Mehmet Emin Resulzade”, considered the founder of Azerbaijan
The Republic of Azerbaijan, which was able to maintain its independence for 23 months, ended with the invasion of the country by the Soviet army on April 28, 1920.
Most of the government executives and intellectuals left the country, but all of them lived the Azerbaijani cause to the end of their lives.
The words of Mehmet Emin Resulzade, who is considered to be the founder of Azerbaijan, “Once a raised flag will never come down again” became a slogan for all Azerbaijanis years later.
Azerbaijan declared its independence again after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the declaration of independence, it was stated that the country was considered the heir of the Azerbaijan Republic, which was active in the 1918-1920 period.