TODAY.AZ / Politics

Azerbaijan passed grandiose path of development for 15 years of Ilham Aliyev’s presidency - Erdogan

26 April 2018 [17:45] - TODAY.AZ


Azerbaijan has passed a grandiose path of development during 15 years of Ilham Aliyev’s presidency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, speaking at the 7th Session of the Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council in Ankara.

Having greeted President Ilham Aliyev and members of the delegation, Erdogan noted that the Session of the Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council benefited the two countries and the region.

“I am happy to receive Ilham Aliyev as a guest in Ankara during his first official foreign visit after the presidential election,” Erdogan said.

“I congratulate Ilham Aliyev on his reelection as Azerbaijani president. I will also make my first foreign visit to Azerbaijan after my reelection as the Turkish president. The fact that this has become a tradition, openly shows the exclusivity of our relations. Eighty-six percent of the votes received by your Excellency at the election demonstrated the confidence of the Azerbaijani people in you. This trust is undoubtedly justified. I am absolutely convinced that by your farsighted leadership in the coming years, you will multiply the path that Azerbaijan has passed after gaining its independence. Distinguished members of the delegation, at a one-on-one meeting with my brother President Ilham Aliyev, we noted the importance of bilateral relations and exchanged views on the upcoming steps. Our ministers, having met each other, discussed their plans in the same way.”

The Turkish president stressed that Turkey and Azerbaijan intend to further strengthen their fraternal ties by real projects.

“The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, which we commissioned last year, is very important in this respect,” he said. “The work carried out by us related to the functional and sustainable use of this railway line, continues. We must soon complete this work. We need to do everything possible for the even more productive operation of this railway line, which is one of the most important transport corridors in the world. The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) is one of our priority projects. The commissioning of this pipeline, which is the peak of our cooperation in the energy sector, will take place in June this year.”

“As you know, presidential election will take place in Turkey June 24,” Erdogan said. “Therefore, if we hold the TANAP opening ceremony in early June, this will become a big event in Turkey and the whole world. Another major project, the Southern Gas Corridor, will bring prosperity not only to our countries, but also to the region and Europe, will make huge contribution to energy security. On the other hand, construction of the Star oil refinery will be completed. Thus, Azerbaijan will become the biggest investor in Turkey. On my own behalf and on behalf of my people, I express my gratitude to you for this.”

“It is no coincidence that Turkey, as is known, has been the biggest investor in Azerbaijan in the oil sector from the very beginning,” Erdogan noted. “But we don’t consider this sufficient, we make every effort to further strengthen this cooperation. So far, we haven’t been able to achieve the desired trade levels set several years ago. Regardless of the relations, the global economic events taking place in the world also play their role here. The early signing of a preferential trade agreement is of great importance for the conduct of our trade in the conditions of equal competition. We are pleased to sign the Memorandum of Understanding related to the discussion of the preferential trade agreement.”

President Erdogan also noted that the friendly and fraternal ties between Turkey and Azerbaijan weren't formed in one day.

“We are two states with common history, roots and culture,” he said. “The Islamic Army of the Caucasus, heading 100 years ago to Azerbaijan to save the brothers from oppression, acted namely with such understanding. The struggle of the Islamic Army of the Caucasus in 1918, which played a role in the formation of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, also contributed to the foundation of today’s independence of Azerbaijan. During this year, when we celebrate the centenary of Azerbaijan’s independence, we also plan to hold various events to honor the memory of the martyrs of the Islamic Army of the Caucasus.”

“We always act in Turkey, remembering the saying “Azerbaijan’s joy is our joy, its sorrow is our sorrow”,” Erdogan said. “This is also the case in Azerbaijan. From this point of view, I express special gratitude to the Azerbaijani people, who always render support in our struggle against the FETO, PKK, PYD, YPG, ISIS terrorist groups. The government of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani people recognized the Operation Olive Branch held by the Turkish Armed Forces in Syria’s Afrin as their own fight. We are also grateful to you for the sympathy regarding our martyrs who sacrificed their lives there, and also for your joy in connection with the success achieved.”

Erdogan stressed that Ankara also considers the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a bleeding wound of Azerbaijan, as Turkey’s own problem and the tragedies of the conflict as its own.

“Most of all, we want an immediate settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Azerbaijan,” he said. “We support the process of negotiations conducted as part of the OSCE Minsk Group. However, the fact that for 25 years, this process hasn’t yielded any results in the settlement of the conflict and the relevant resolutions of international organizations aren’t being implemented is unacceptable. The support provided to Azerbaijan in this issue will continue with the same determination. My dear brother, I would like to stress once again that I feel joy to accept you and your delegation during the first official foreign visit after your reelection as Azerbaijani president.”


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