|“||Today’s Azerbaijan is moving on this path. Representatives of all religions, nations live in Azerbaijan as one family. They should even more closely combine their efforts. We are proud of our history and our culture.||„|
|~ Ilham Aliyev|
Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev (born December 24, 1961) is the President of Azerbaijan, having been elected in 2003 after the death of his father Heydar. He also functions as the Chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party and the head of the National Olympic Committee.
It was reported that three Aliyev children own real estate in Dubai worth about $75 million. In just two weeks of early 2009, an 11-year-old son of Aliyev became the owner of nine waterfront mansions in Dubai. The total price is estimated about $44 million, which is equal to roughly 10,000 years' worth of salary for the average Azerbaijani citizen.
Azerfon, a Baku-based telecom company, founded in March 2007 has nearly 1.7 million subscribers and covers 80 percent of the country's territory and is country's only provider of 3G services. Aliyev's two daughters, Leyla and Arzu Aliyevas, are believed to control this company. It has also been reported that they control the Azerbaijani bank sphere.
On December 31, 2012, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project named Ilham Aliyev won the Organized Crime and Corruption Person of the Year. The statement of OCCRP website said "The award is given for the person who figured prominently in 2012 on stories on crime and corruption in its coverage area. Aliyev was chosen because of new revelations this year about how his family had taken large shares in lucrative industries including the telecom, minerals and construction industries often through government related deals."
In a screed delivered on 15 July 2020, during the 2020 Armenian–Azerbaijani clashes, President Aliyev targeted the largest opposition party, the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan. He declared that “we need to finish with the ‘fifth column‘" and the Popular Front is “worse than the Armenians.” According to Azerbaijani sources as many as 120 people are currently held in jail, including some deputy leaders of the party as well as journalists. On July 20 the U.S. State Department urged Azerbaijan to avoid using the pandemic to silence “civil society advocacy, opposition voices, or public discussion.” These actions are widely seen as an attempt "to eliminate pro-democracy advocates and political rivals once and for all".
According to RFE/RL, "Aliyev's authoritarian rule has shut down independent media outlets and suppressed opposition parties while holding elections deemed neither free nor fair by international monitoring groups"
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict continued sporadically during Aliyev's presidency, culminating into a full-scale war in 2020, in which he led his country to victory. With ceasefire agreement that ensued, most of the territories lost to the internationally unrecognized Republic of Artsakh are schedueled to return into Azerbaijan.
- Apart from his native Azerbaijani, he speaks English and Russian.