Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. President, my dear brother,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen!
My dear brother, I sincerely welcome you to Azerbaijan again – welcome to Azerbaijan! Your visit is of great importance. Yesterday we took part in the opening of the historic Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, while today we held a regular meeting of the Turkey-Azerbaijan high-level cooperation council. The issues discussed at the meeting cover practically all key spheres of our life. Both in the one-on-one meeting and in the expanded meeting at the level of delegations, we were further convinced that Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are at the highest level. There are no two other countries in the world that would be so close to each other and support each other so much. The Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship, brotherhood and unity are at the highest peak today. Naturally, we concur on all the issues discussed. All issues are being addressed. The issues discussed are being implemented.
Of course, we discussed further development of our political ties. They are developing quite successfully. High-level mutual visits are carried out. I have visited Turkey twice this year. The President of Turkey is on a visit to Azerbaijan now. Ministers and other officials meet often as well. At the same time, we, as always, support each other within the framework of international organizations. Turkey and Azerbaijan are always next to each other in all international organizations.
Today, we also discussed one of the most painful problems for the region – the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I informed President Erdogan of the latest situation in connection with the talks. Unfortunately, this conflict remains unresolved. Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other districts, the historical lands of Azerbaijan, are still under occupation. As a result of this occupation, more than a million Azerbaijanis have been displaced in their native land. International organizations, in particular the United Nations Security Council, adopted four resolutions on the conflict. These resolutions state that the Armenian armed forces must immediately and unconditionally withdraw from the occupied lands. Unfortunately, these resolutions remain on paper, Armenia ignores them and the conflict remains unresolved. This is a policy of double standards against us. In some cases, UN Security Council resolutions are carried out in a matter of a few days. When it comes to us, these resolutions have remained unfulfilled for more than 20 years. The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved on the basis of international law and within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. There is no other option. The Azerbaijani people and state will never tolerate the creation of a second Armenian state on our historical lands. I have once again expressed my gratitude to President Erdogan for Turkey’s support of in this matter. Turkey as a true friend and brother has always supported the just cause of Azerbaijan in all international organizations.
We have broadly discussed cooperation in the military sphere. This is one of the issues on our agenda. This year Azerbaijan has hosted joint military exercises three times – twice in Baku and once in Nakhchivan. This is a factor that strengthens our cooperation in the military sphere. At the same time, joint activities in the military-technical sphere continue. The constantly developing military-industrial complex of Turkey is of great interest to us. We are purchasing and will continue to purchase military products from Turkey.
The document in the economic sphere signed today is of great importance. The preferential trade agreement makes is of great importance. I am sure that after this agreement enters into force, the trade between us will also significantly increase. The heads of relevant organizations also reported on mutual investment here. To date, Azerbaijan has invested a total of $10 billion in Turkey and Turkey $11 billion in Azerbaijan. The volume of this investment will increase, and Azerbaijan’s investment in Turkey should reach $20 billion.
Turkish companies have been successfully operating in Azerbaijan for many years. To date, Turkish companies have carried out work worth $11 billion and financed from the state budget of Azerbaijan. We are very pleased. They have done a very good job. This strengthens the friendship and cooperation among business people.
Of course, today's meeting traditionally discussed issues of the energy and transport agenda. All our goals in this area have also been met. We are confidently moving towards these goals. I am confident that the TANAP project will soon be completed. There are no problems with its implementation. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project was commissioned yesterday. We celebrated this historic day together with my brother, our brothers and sisters from Turkey. This is a great success and a great victory for us. This once again shows that all the projects initiated and implemented by Turkey and Azerbaijan are implemented. These include the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, TANAP and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars projects, which are major transnational projects of continental scale. All has been became possible thanks to our unity and friendship.
The Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship, brotherhood and unity are an important factor for the region and play a stabilizing role in the region. A strengthening Turkey increases our power, and we are also inspired by your successes. Thanks to the leadership of my dear brother, Turkey has become a major powerhouse on a world scale today. Friends rejoice in that and enemies are indignant. Let our friends always be happy. I am sure that we will continue to go only along the path of development, progress and victories. The Turkish-Azerbaijani unity and brotherhood will be eternal. Thank you.