Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the 8th Summit of Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States12 november 2021, 16:31
My dear brother, dear President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
Dear heads of state and government,
First of all, I would like to express my profound gratitude to you for this high award, for the “Supreme Order of Turkic World”. It is a great honor for me, but also a great responsibility. What doubles my joy is that this Supreme Order is presented to me by the heads of state of the Turkic Council. This high award is given to me upon their signature and on the initiative of my dear brother, esteemed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is noted that this is a recognition of my merits in the liberation of Karabakh and my contribution to the further strengthening of Turkic unity. This is a very high award by Turkic states given to me in recognition of my work and activities.
Therefore, on behalf of all the people of Azerbaijan, I express my deep gratitude to you. I believe that this award is being given to all the people of Azerbaijan.
The perseverance, resolve and courage we showed in the Second Karabakh War led us to the Great Victory, and I must say that, as everyone can see, it is the backing and moral support of my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan from the first hours to the last minutes of the war that gave us additional strength. We felt this support, we listened to his words and felt even stronger. The esteemed President said that Azerbaijan was not alone in this war, that Turkey stood by Azerbaijan and would always stand by it, and this gave us extra strength. This kept certain forces, those patronizing Armenia, out of this war and allowed us the opportunity to carry out this glorious mission.
My dear brother, dear President, dear heads of state and government, I would like to thank all of you once again for this. The symbolic fact is that Azerbaijan receives this award when it hands over the chairmanship of the Turkic Council to Turkey. At the same time, this is a sign of appreciation of our work over the past two years, and my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now taking over this honorable mission as chairman of the Turkic Council and the Organization of Turkic States. I am confident that under his leadership, the relations between our countries based on unity, solidarity, mutual respect and love will be further strengthened and there is no doubt that the esteemed President, the leader of the Turkic world, will succeed in this. Because it is thanks to his policy and leadership that Turkey has covered a long and glorious path in recent years, has become a global powerhouse and a country to reckon with not only in the region but also worldwide. I think that there is no one in the world who would not know the power of Turkey – its political, economic and military power. And it is thanks to the leadership of my dear brother that the development and stability of Turkey is an important prerequisite for the entire Turkic world. It is the strong state of Turkey that is at the center of the Turkic world. It is the strengthening of Turkey that gives all of us extra strength, so each of us should be grateful to my dear brother. Honored to speak on behalf of the Azerbaijani people today, I convey to my dear brother the boundless love of the Azerbaijani people. Everyone loved Tayyip Bey in Azerbaijan even before the war, and he lives and will forever live in the hearts of the Azerbaijani people for the great support he gave us in the war.
I am very delighted that we are looking to the future when talking about the unity between Turkic states. We have a very solid foundation, a strong foundation for our future together. These are our common roots, our language, our religion and our common interests.
During its two-year presidency, Azerbaijan made great efforts to unite the Turkic world. Many events were held in this period. I think we are now stepping into the future in a more cohesive and united manner. Today's summit has a great historic significance. First of all, because we are turning our Council into an organization, and this organization has a great future. Because this organization is based on natural allies, and this unity is dictated by history, culture, our customs and traditions. At the same time, threats arise in the world every month, every year, and, unfortunately, the world's leading countries cannot take appropriate steps in addressing them. I am confident that the Organization of Turkic States will continue to grow in significance not only for our countries and peoples, but for the world. Because our cooperation is genuine, we are all brothers, we call each other brothers, we all develop our countries on traditional values. The unity and brotherhood between our peoples are strengthening day by day, we cover a great geography today, we have great economic, political and military power within this geography. Our countries have ample natural resources, modern infrastructure and transportation routes. Turkey is a country with military, economic and industrial power. Suffice it to say that Turkey is the second most powerful country in NATO and has repeatedly shown this in securing its interests and peace in the world. Therefore, I am very hopeful that our organization will meet all its objectives.
One of the important events of the last two years has been the accession of Turkmenistan to our organization as an observer. This is natural, and I am happy to say this today as chairman of the organization. We also cordially greet our Turkmen brothers, and this is a very important step. At the same time, Uzbekistan became a member of our Council at the Baku Summit, which is a momentous event. I remember that the Nakhchivan agreement was signed at the Nakhchivan Summit in 2009. It was signed by four leaders, but we are seven now. This shows that our organization is very appealing, and I am confident that every member and observer will continue to increase our strength by hitting the same targets.
At the same time, we have given a joint response to the pandemic that is sweeping the world today. A videoconference summit was held in April last year, and member countries of our organization helped each other and other countries.
Four days ago, the people of Azerbaijan celebrated with great joy and pride the first anniversary of the liberation of Karabakh. We have put an end to nearly 30 years of occupation. We have implemented the resolutions, which were adopted by the United Nations in 1993 but remained on paper. We have restored historical justice, we have restored international law, we have restored our national dignity. This Victory is of historic significance because it was a just war. We fought on our own land, we shed blood and gave martyrs. We have never set sights on the lands of other countries, and the outcome of the Second Karabakh War showed that. The fighting and all the unwelcome developments were over on the day the war stopped. From the first days of the war, I was openly stating that if Armenia gave us a timetable for the withdrawal of its troops from our lands, we were ready to stop the war at any moment, and we kept our word. After 44 days, Armenia signed an act of surrender and was forced to withdraw from the lands that had not yet been liberated, thus ending the Second Karabakh War. In 44 days, we liberated more than 300 towns and villages on the battlefield, while hundreds of towns and villages were liberated as a result of a peaceful process. So Azerbaijan has restored its territorial integrity.
Everything in the liberated lands was destroyed. My dear brother, Mr. President has twice visited the liberated lands. He witnessed it during a visit to Shusha in June and more recently, in October, in Fuzuli and Zangilan. Today, it is the brotherly Turkey that helps and supports us the most in the restoration of these regions – East Zangazur and Karabakh. Today, many Turkish companies are working on key infrastructure projects for us – bridges, tunnels, roads, railways, power plants, and airports. They are heavily involved in all these activities. Together with Azerbaijani companies, 12 Turkish companies participated in the construction of the recently opened Fuzuli Airport, which we inaugurated together with Mr. President recently. I think this is why we were able to build it in a record time – in a matter of eight months. At present, Turkish companies are also involved in the construction of Zangilan Airport and will participate in our other projects.
At the same time, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev. On his initiative, a large school will be built in Fuzuli district funded by Uzbekistan. The school project was presented to us, and this is yet another act of solidarity, friendship and brotherhood, and the people of Azerbaijan appreciate it very much.
We are now engaged in major restoration work. At the same time, the outcome of the Second Karabakh War open up ample opportunities for the region. In particular, I think that the opening of the Zangazur corridor in terms of transportation will usher new opportunities for the whole region. I do hope that Armenia, which has been defeated because of its policy of aggression, will sooner or later realize that its territorial claims to any country will not bring them good or honor. I do hope that Armenia's territorial claims to both Turkey and Azerbaijan will end in the near future. Otherwise, they may find themselves in an even more precarious situation. The Zangazur corridor is a project that can unite the Turkic world, Europe and our neighbors, and active work is currently underway to realize this project.
As for Zangazur, I would like to remind you of my speech at the Nakhchivan summit. At that time, I said that in 1920, the Soviet government disrupted the geographical connection of the Turkic world by tearing Zangazur from Azerbaijan and handing it over to Armenia, and anyone can see this by looking at the map. We are restoring this geography now. With the implementation of transportation and communication projects, we are redrawing this geography, and I do hope that we will succeed to the end.
My dear brother, esteemed President, esteemed heads of state and government, thank you once again for this high award. I will do my bets to live up to this high award in my future endeavors.