Turkey-Azerbaijan relations are on the highest level

On February 25, President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Azerbaijan.

On February 25, following the official welcome ceremony, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a one-on-one meeting.

The successful development of bilateral friendly and brotherly relations in all areas was hailed at the meeting.

The importance of global projects jointly implemented by the two countries was also emphasized.

The sides expressed their confidence that the visit of Turkish President to Azerbaijan would contribute to further expansion of cooperation between the two countries.

The presidents exchanged views on bilateral relations, as well as the issues of mutual interest.

The eighth meeting of the Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council has been held with participation of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The heads of state addressed the meeting.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Dear Mr. President, dear brother!

I would like to sincerely welcome you to Azerbaijan. Welcome to Azerbaijan, to your homeland! Your visit is of great importance. Today, during our one-on-one meeting, we reviewed many directions of Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship and fraternal relations. We were further convinced that the ties between us are strategic in nature and rest on friendship and fraternity.

Last year was a successful one for our ties. We met several times. Huge success was achieved in all areas - political, economic, energy, transport. Among them, of course, we can mention the TANAP project reaching the border with Europe.

In a word, I am sure that the regular meeting of the Azerbaijan-Turkey Strategic Cooperation Council being held today will be very important for the further development of our ties. There are many issues on the agenda. Their discussion and the decisions to be made, as well as the bilateral documents to be signed, will significantly strengthen our ties.

Welcome again! I wish you and the delegation, the fraternal Turkish people success, the best of luck and good health!

***

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said:

- I would also like to express our deep appreciation to the distinguished Mr. President, my dear brother for the hospitality extended both to me personally and the delegation from the moment we arrived. During our one-on-one meeting, we had the opportunity to discuss Turkish-Azerbaijani relations in detail. We discussed in detail everything we can do and what has been done in all areas - political, military, economic, commercial, cultural. I also want to emphasize that we are pleased to chair such a meeting - the eighth meeting of the Council.

May Allah rest the soul of our Azerbaijani brother Ibrahim, who became a martyr yesterday. Prior to this, another brother of ours became a martyr, may Allah rest his soul too. On my own behalf, on behalf of the delegation and the people of Turkey, I also want to express my condolences to the entire Azerbaijani people.

During the meetings today, our ministers will hold the necessary discussions.

Last year, my brother Mr. Aliyev explicitly defined his opinion, saying: "Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan and exclamation mark." Turkey supports these words, and I repeat them here. I hope the results of the 9 February elections to the Milli Majlis benefit our Azerbaijan. We are very pleased and happy that the elections ended in an atmosphere of stability and tranquility.

We also observe with approval the process of reforms being implemented under the guidance of my esteemed brother Mr. Aliyev. I want to express my readiness to share with you our experience in all areas to support the reform process.

We have implemented such gigantic projects together as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, TANAP, the Star Oil Refinery. At present, our main goal is to increase our trade of $4.5 billion to $15 billion, as we outlined in 2019. My brother and I have reached agreement on this issue.

Azerbaijan and Turkey have signed bilateral documents with the participation of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Following the ceremony of signing documents, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan have made press statements.

The President of Azerbaijan made the statement first.

Statement of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- Dear Mr. President, dear brother,

Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Dear representatives of the media!

Mr. President, let me once again warmly welcome you to Azerbaijan! Welcome to Azerbaijan! Your visit is very important. We visit each other on a regular basis, and each meeting is of great importance. After each meeting, a new impetus is given to Turkish-Azerbaijani relations, and these relations are at the highest level today. The eighth meeting of the Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council held today once again showed that our views on all issues coincide, we have the same intentions and goals. They are aimed at ensuring that Turkish-Azerbaijani friendly and fraternal ties continue to develop successfully and cover all spheres.

Many issues were thoroughly discussed today. Very important decisions were made and important documents were signed. We held a broad exchange of views on our political ties and were further convinced that they reflect the will of the two peoples. In all international organizations we advocate a single position. We support each other. Actively interacting in the UN, the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Council of Europe and other organizations, we increase each other's strength.

Last year, Azerbaijan assumed chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement. It is the second largest organization after the United Nations on a global scale. Today, a wide exchange of views took place on further ties between this organization and Turkey.

Ways to resolve the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were also discussed, of course. I want to thank my dear brother once again for Turkey's continued support of the just cause of Azerbaijan. In all international arenas, Turkey always stands by Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani people. However, the unconstructive position of Armenia is the main obstacle to the settlement of the conflict. The extremely contradictory and conflicting statements of the Armenian leadership cause great damage to the negotiation process. They either say that Nagorno-Karabakh is Armenia or that Nagorno-Karabakh is an independent state. It turns out that they don't know themselves what Nagorno-Karabakh is. If they don't, we can tell them: Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan! The whole world and we are talking about this. All countries of the world recognize and support the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and not a single state recognizes an illegal entity called Nagorno-Karabakh. Of course, the conflict should be resolved within the framework of territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country and the inviolability of our borders.

Turkey is a country that provides Azerbaijan with the biggest support on a global scale. Thank you very much again for this. For our part, I must note that in all matters and in all international arenas, Azerbaijan always supports the just cause of Turkey. There is no and I am not sure will ever be any issue in which Azerbaijan would not support Turkey. In all the processes currently taking place in the region, the Azerbaijani state and the Azerbaijani people unequivocally stand by the Turkish state and people. Our unity is eternal, and we are certainly building our future on this solid foundation. Therefore, today's eighth meeting of the Council for Strategic Cooperation is a matter of special importance because the countries closest to each other in the world have made very serious decisions on further interaction and cooperation.

With regard to the economic sphere, my dear brother and esteemed President has recently set the goal of bringing our trade to $15 billion. I believe that this is possible because last year our turnover increased by 33 percent to reach $4.5 billion. I am sure that the documents signed today, including the agreement on preferential trade, will give a great impetus to the increase in our trade.

Currently, about 4,000 Turkish companies work in Azerbaijan. they have done work worth $16 billion in more than 300 projects. According to these parameters, Turkey ranks first. I believe that mutual investment is also at a very high level. To date, Azerbaijan has invested 18 billion in the Turkish economy and Turkey $12.5 billion in the Azerbaijani economy. Such a scale of investments once again confirms our brotherhood because such amounts may be invested only in a brotherly country.

Of course, we had a broad exchange of views on further cooperation today. Last November, we celebrated the completion of TANAP in Turkey. This is the main component of the Southern Gas Corridor. I am sure that the Southern Gas Corridor will be fully commissioned by the end of this year because the implementation of its latest project, TAP, has reached 92 percent. Other issues related to energy have also been discussed.

 

An exchange of views took place on further cooperation in the field of defense. Last year alone, 13 joint military exercises were conducted. There will be even more this year. Azerbaijan will continue acquiring modern weaponry from Turkey, and we also talked about organizing joint production today.

There are great achievements in the transport sector. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway we built together operates successfully. Today we talked about the further functioning of this road, and an important document was signed - a Memorandum of Understanding on the construction of the Kars-Nakhchivan railway. This issue is of particular importance because Nakhchivan has been living in the condition of the blockade for many years because of Armenia's occupying policy. The delivery of products manufactured in Nakhchivan to foreign markets is a major problem. The construction of the Kars-Igdir-Nakhchivan railway would eliminate this problem, and this will contribute to the development and well-being of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic where the only land border between Azerbaijan and Turkey passes. Thank you for this agreement. An exchange of views was also held on further activities and the successful development of Nakhchivan. Three years ago, we prepared a list of goods that can be exported from Nakhchivan to Turkey. We are grateful for that too and I am sure that the number of export operations from Nakhchivan to Turkey will increase in the future.

We also discussed many issues related to agriculture and education today. There is a great potential there as well. In other words, the agenda was quite broad and there were no disagreements on any issue. On the contrary, we have a common opinion, common intentions and common goals - to further strengthen Turkey and Azerbaijan.

I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the merits of the distinguished President and my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the Turkish people. Thanks to his tireless activity, Turkey is a global power center today. Not a single issue in the region where Turkey is located and all over the world can be resolved without its participation, and the latest history showed this. We are very happy about this because the strength of Turkey multiplies our own strength. And the union of our forces makes us even stronger. I am sure that we will always be next to each other and rejoice at each other's successes. In difficult days, God forbid, we will always be next to each other.

I sincerely welcome you again, dear brother! I wish you and the fraternal Turkish people continued prosperity and happiness. Thank you!

A reception has been hosted on behalf of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in honor of President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Following the reception, President Ilham Aliyev saw off President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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