After the ceremony of signing Azerbaijani-Turkish documents, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan made statements for the press.
Statement by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
– Thank you, dear brother, dear Mr. President.
First of all, I would like to thank you for the hospitality extended to me and the delegation. As you have noted, I am paying my first official visit this year to Turkey – to a brotherly country. And this is natural. It has already become a wonderful tradition. At the same time, the visit has allowed us the opportunity to discuss the work in store for us this year and to approve a plan of joint activities.
The joint statement we have signed today reflects the previous period of Turkish-Azerbaijani relations, the ongoing and forthcoming work. The issues discussed at the fourth meeting of the Strategic Cooperation Council today, and the solution of these issues will, of course, raise the Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherly ties to an even higher level.
Our relations are based on historical roots and brotherhood of our peoples, and today these relations are the closest in the world. In today’s world there are no other two countries that would be so linked and attached to each other as Turkey and Azerbaijan, and there are many aspects that confirm this unity. One of them, in the words of my dear brother, is Turkey’s invitation of Azerbaijan to G20. It is a great honor for us. First of all because the invitation comes from Turkey, which demonstrates to the peoples of Turkey and Azerbaijan and indeed the world at large how close we are to each other. I thank you personally, dear brother, for this invitation and attention to Azerbaijan, and am sure that the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship and brotherly relations will continue to successfully develop.
At the same time, on 24 April we will together celebrate the victory at Canakkale, and on my own behalf and on behalf of the Azerbaijani people I am very grateful to you for choosing this date. The choice of this date is very wise. I am confident that our peoples will appreciate it.
As far as today’s meeting is concerned, as my dear brother has noted, we have discussed many issues and adopted decisions. The ministers have held a meeting as well, and I am confident that the solution of all of these issues will bring us even closer together.
Our defense cooperation is expanding. We are buying a lot of weapons and ammunition in Turkey. At the same time, we held an exchange of views on joint production of defense industry products in Azerbaijan. We rejoice in the great successes of Turkey. Turkey is a global powerhouse. The stronger Turkey, the stronger Azerbaijan. Our strength, of course, is political, economic and military power. So we have great plans on deepening cooperation in the field of defense. I should note that last year we held joint Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises for a few days in Azerbaijan. In the future such exercises will be conducted regularly.
We also discussed issues related to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. I thank the President again for the fact that Turkey’s position remains unchanged. Turkey supports justice, truth and international law in this issue, it supports its brothers.
As you know, the internationally recognized Azerbaijani lands have been under occupation for many years although the UN Security Council, the world’s top structure, has adopted four resolutions demanding a withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from these lands. These resolutions are not being executed, and this testifies to the fact that Armenia does not want peace, while the Minsk Group, unfortunately, can’t achieve any result in this matter. Some work is being done, but unfortunately there is no result. Last year some progress was observed in the negotiations. But the provocative steps taken by Armenia, in particular, the large-scale exercises held on the territory of Agdam District in November and attacks on Azerbaijani positions were, of course, adequately met by Azerbaijan and the enemy was pointed to its place. But all this, of course, did not have a positive impact on the negotiations. This conflict can be resolved only within the framework of territorial integrity. Nagorno-Karabakh is native Azerbaijani land. Azerbaijan will restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity. To achieve this, we must become even stronger.
The Turkish-Azerbaijani unity and cooperation today are an important factor on a global scale. This factor is undeniable. Even in the crisis years Turkey and Azerbaijan are developing, the well-being of our peoples is improving, our role on a global scale is enhancing and our international positions are strengthening. This suggests that Turkey and Azerbaijan will develop in the coming years, and we will see even more progress.
We have excellent cooperation in the economic sphere. Today, at a meeting of the Council, some figures were voiced. Billions of dollars have been invested by Azerbaijan in Turkey and by Turkey in Azerbaijan in recent years. By 2020, the volume of Azerbaijani investments in Turkey will reach $20 billion. Turkish companies successfully operate in Azerbaijan. They have implemented projects worth $10 billion. Of course, the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor will further deepen our cooperation in the energy sector. We are already starting multilateral cooperation. Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and other members of the Southern Gas Corridor should work together here. Next month Baku will host the first meeting of the advisory council for the Southern Gas Corridor. The meeting will issue specific and precise recommendations related to the implementation of the project.
I should also note that the foundation of the Southern Gas Corridor was laid in Istanbul about three years ago. My dear brother and I signed the TANAP project. The TANAP project is actually the cornerstone, the basis of the Southern Gas Corridor. Thus, our decision has turned into a huge project in the world. The Southern Gas Corridor and the development of the “Shah Deniz” field are currently the largest infrastructure projects in Europe. A total of $45 billion will be invested in these projects.
As for other issues, I should note that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and other projects will be implemented in a timely manner. Every issue discussed today is a giant and major project. TANAP, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and other projects – all of these are of strategic importance, and Turkey and Azerbaijan are playing a key role. I am convinced that all these projects will be implemented in a timely manner.
This year Turkey will host a number of events – the event in Canakkale, the activities related to the implementation of the TANAP project and others. So, God willing, this year we will be coming to Turkey often and, of course, I want to invite my dear brother to Azerbaijan once again. We meet quite often. These meetings bring our peoples and countries even closer together and multiply the Turkish-Azerbaijani strength.