Ilham Aliyev attended the Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Turkic States

16 March 2023, 14:00
Ilham Aliyev attended the Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Turkic States

Initiated by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, the Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State of the Organization of Turkic States has been held in Ankara.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the event.

President of the Republic of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, other heads of state and government.

Then, a family photo was taken.

Addressing the event, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan thanked President Ilham Aliyev for his initiative to hold the Extraordinary Summit themed “Disaster-Emergency Management and Humanitarian Assistance” following the earthquake, which occurred in Türkiye. He said: “On my own behalf and on behalf of my nation, I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the brotherly Azerbaijan, who called for the Summit to be held in Türkiye.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said decisions to be made at the Ankara Summit would contribute significantly to the development of economic relations among Turkic-speaking countries. He specifically mentioned the decision to establish the Turkic Investment Fund in this regard. The President of Türkiye said that the Fund would make an important contribution to the further development of cooperation among member countries in the fields of infrastructure, transport, agriculture, tourism, alternative energy and others.

Emphasizing the successful implementation of large-scale projects in the fields of oil, natural gas and electricity in the Caspian basin with the participation of countries of the Turkic world, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline has been continuously delivering oil from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to world markets for 16 years. Thanks to the Southern Gas Corridor, of which TANAP is the backbone, Turkic states play an important role in European energy security.”

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President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who chairs the Organization of Turkic States, said the earthquake that had occurred in Türkiye had deeply shaken the entire Turkic world. Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted the importance of programs and projects related to the construction of hundreds of thousands of new homes and infrastructure for those affected by the earthquake. He said that many people's lives had been saved as a result of the measures taken in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

The President of Uzbekistan proposed to declare February 6 as a “day of remembrance and unity, equality and solidarity with those who lost their lives” within the framework of the Organization of Turkic States.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said the number and scale of disasters had intensified as a result of global climate change in recent years. He also noted the importance of the Organization of Turkic States developing a systematic cooperation platform and a civil defense system, applying the best international practices, increasing public awareness, and establishing close cooperation and support mechanisms in order to prevent and eliminate the consequences of such events. The President of Uzbekistan put forward the initiative to establish a Center for Monitoring and Analysis of Natural Disasters within the framework of the Organization.

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A video was screened about the consequences of the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and humanitarian aids provided to the fraternal country.

A minute of silence was observed in commemoration of those killed by the disaster.

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Chairman of the Halk Maslakhaty of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed his hope that his country would be accepted as a member state of the Organization during the participation of the President of Turkmenistan, Serdar Berdimuhamedov, in the Organization’s next meeting. Indicating that the topic of the Ankara Summit was of historic importance, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized the significance of Turkic states providing comprehensive friendly and brotherly support to each other and staying united in such difficult times.

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The President of Azerbaijan addressed the Summit.

Speech by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- My dear brother, distinguished President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Dear heads of state and government, dear friends.

We were deeply saddened by the consequences of the powerful earthquake that caused the deaths and injuries of many people in brotherly Türkiye. This devastating earthquake killed tens of thousands of people. My dear brother, on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan, I once again offer my profound condolences to you, the families and loved ones of the victims, and the brotherly people of Türkiye, and wish the injured a speedy recovery.

The government and people of Azerbaijan were mobilized to provide humanitarian aid to brotherly Türkiye the moment the earthquake struck. 940 people from Azerbaijan, including rescue workers, medical personnel and volunteers, were dispatched to the earthquake region. Azerbaijan topped the list of countries worldwide for the number of rescuers sent to Türkiye. Thanks to the efforts of our rescue workers and doctors, 53 people were saved from under the rubble. Also, the bodies of 780 people were found. Our medical personnel provided medical assistance to more than 3,000 people.

To date, more than 45 million US dollars have been transferred into the bank accounts of AFAD and other humanitarian organizations. In addition, 5,300 tons of humanitarian aid was delivered.

Azerbaijan and Türkiye have always been by each other's side on both joyful and somber days. And it will continue to be the case in the future too.

I am confident that thanks to the leadership of distinguished President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Türkiye will successfully overcome the consequences of this earthquake.

The political and moral support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for Azerbaijan from the first hours of the Second Karabakh War to the last day in 2020 gave us extra strength.

In the meantime, during the 44-day war, the entire Turkish people stood with Azerbaijan. Thousands of support and congratulatory messages from Türkiye came both during the war and after our historic Victory.

In June 2021, the Shusha Declaration between Türkiye and Azerbaijan was signed in the city of Shusha, the crown jewel of Karabakh, and our relations were officially raised to the level of an alliance.

In the last 20 years, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Türkiye has covered a tremendous and glorious path, Türkiye has gained a say in the whole world, and has become a powerhouse. Today, Türkiye is reckoned with and respected all over the globe.

Everyone in the world now sees Türkiye's military power and tremendous successes in the defense industry. Continuous stability in Türkiye over these years and the country's development are essential for the entire Turkic world.

The awarding of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the Supreme Order of the Turkic World at the Summit of the Organization of Turkic States in Samarkand in 2022 is further evidence of his significant contributions to the strengthening of the Turkic world. I am sure my dear brother will make even more outstanding contributions to the further strengthening relations established based on brotherhood between our countries for many years to come.

Dear friends,

During the 30 years of occupation, hundreds of our cities and villages, historical and religious sites and cemeteries were deliberately destroyed by Armenia. Foreign experts describe the destroyed city of Aghdam as a “Hiroshima of the Caucasus.” The Armenians destroyed 65 out of 67 mosques in Karabakh and East Zangezur, and the remaining two were used as pig and cow sheds.

Our natural resources were plundered, and the environment was gravely damaged.

As a result of the first Karabakh war, about 4,000 of our citizens went missing, and almost all were tortured and killed. After the liberation of our lands, we discovered mass graves in several locations. Armenia still avoids providing information about the fate of the missing Azerbaijanis.

Because of the Armenian occupation, Azerbaijan is now among the countries most contaminated with landmines. After the Second Karabakh War, i.e., since November 2020, nearly 300 Azerbaijanis have been killed or seriously injured in the aftermath of mine explosions.

Although Armenia recognized Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty in Prague and Sochi in 2022, it has not yet fully withdrawn its troops from the territory of Azerbaijan. Illegal Armenian detachments and criminal elements still remain in Karabakh. Armenia also evades the obligation to open the Zangezur corridor.

Therefore, Armenia flagrantly violates the Statement signed on November 10, 2020, and should be held accountable.

After the liberation of Karabakh and East Zangezur from Armenian occupation in 2020, Azerbaijan launched large-scale reconstruction work in these areas. Azerbaijan is restoring life in vast areas Armenia has completely destroyed. We are building nine new cities and initially more than 300 villages and towns from scratch.

This is a rare and unprecedented model of post-conflict reconstruction by a national government using its own financial resources.

We have started implementing the “Great Return” program to return former internally displaced persons to their homelands.

Turkish companies are actively involved in many infrastructure projects as contractors in the reconstruction process. To date, contracts worth more than 3 billion USD have been signed with Turkish companies. My dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan has visited the liberated lands three times. He has been to Shusha, Fuzuli, Zangilan and Jabrayil.

Taking this opportunity, I express my gratitude to the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, for the school being built by Uzbekistan and the creative center under construction by Kazakhstan in the liberated Fuzuli city.

At the same time, I would like to inform you that the Azerbaijan-Uzbekistan Investment Fund and the Azerbaijan-Kyrgyz Development Fund have been recently established.

Distinguished colleagues,

The Turkic world is not limited to the borders of Turkic states. The Turkic world covers a more extensive geography. The number of Azerbaijanis living in the world exceeds 50 million, and only 10 million live in the independent Republic of Azerbaijan.

The decision of the Soviet government in November 1920 to separate West Zangezur, our historical land, from Azerbaijan and hand it over to Armenia led to the geographical separation of the Turkic world. By 1991, all Azerbaijanis were driven out forcefully of the territory of present-day Armenia.

As in Karabakh and East Zangezur, Armenia has also destroyed our cultural heritage, mosques and historical sites in present-day Armenia – in Western Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani community has repeatedly appealed to UNESCO to send a fact-finding mission to monitor the Azerbaijani people's cultural heritage in present-day Armenia and expects a positive response from UNESCO.

Our fellow compatriots suffered from ethnic cleansing in Western Azerbaijan have now united in the Western Azerbaijan Community. They have set the goal of a peaceful return to their historical lands. According to the Concept of Return developed by the Western Azerbaijan Community, an international legally binding agreement with an appropriate verification and guarantee mechanism for the return of Azerbaijanis forcefully deported from the territory of present-day Armenia should be put in place.

Just as we, the state of Azerbaijan, will guarantee the individual rights and security of the Armenian residents living in Karabakh, Armenia must guarantee the rights and security of the Western Azerbaijanis based on the principle of reciprocity.

Thank you for attention.

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President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in his remarks that the pain experienced by the Turkish people because of the earthquake was shared by all Turkic states. He noted that Kazakhstan was always ready to provide assistance to brotherly Türkiye.

Emphasizing that Turkic states had demonstrated exemplary unity and solidarity at this important time, the President of Kazakhstan expressed his hope that this brotherhood and mutual support would be continued. He noted that the Turkish people had come out of all the difficulties stronger and said it would also be the case this time under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov in his remarks drew attention to the fact that the Summit was being held after a natural disaster, noting that the historical relations between the Kyrgyz and Turkish people would continue to develop. Sadyr Zhaparov said that Kyrgyzstan was attaching great importance to continuous meetings with members of the Organization and emphasized the value of political dialogue among member states in this regard. Pointing out that multilateral cooperation was very important for Kyrgyzstan, President Sadyr Zhaparov expressed his gratitude to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev for supporting and further developing the strategic partnership between countries.

The Kyrgyz President pointed out that the topic of the Summit required joint action and close cooperation, disaster and emergency management and humanitarian aid from member states of the Organization.

Wishing the President of Türkiye success in the election, Sadyr Zhaparov expressed his confidence that the reforms carried out under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan would lead the Turkish people to further achievements.

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Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban said that the earthquake in Türkiye had been horrific, noting that his country would be honored to support Türkiye in its reconstruction effort. Emphasizing that he had witnessed the rapid development of Türkiye under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Hungarian Prime Minister expressed his hope that it would continue to be the case in the future. Touching upon conflicts unfolding in the world today, the Prime Minister of Hungary thanked member countries of the Organization of Turkic States for their strong peace efforts. Stating that the establishment of various blocs as a fallout from the global economic recession was not in Hungary's interest, Viktor Orban said he was in favor of establishing relations between all countries. “I think the Turkic world, Turkic states will play a key role in the Caucasus and Central Asia in this sense. We can be an example to the whole world by continuing our relations on the basis of mutual respect. For this purpose, we in Hungary intend to contribute to strengthening joint efforts in the fields of energy, trade and transportation,” he said.

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President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Ersin Tatar expressed his gratitude to the presidents of Türkiye and Azerbaijan for the invitation to the event and for the initiative to hold this Summit. He said, “I am very grateful to President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan for inviting me here. I express my deep gratitude to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev for the initiative to hold this Summit.

President Ersin Tatar expressed his confidence that the strong and great state of Türkiye would eliminate the consequences of the earthquake as soon as possible and stressed the great importance of solidarity and unity between friendly and brotherly countries during such events.

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Other speakers at the event included Chairman of the Council of Elders of the Organization of Turkic States, Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party of Türkiye Binali Yıldırım and Secretary General of the Organization of Turkic States Kubanychbek Omuraliev.

President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again thanked President Ilham Aliyev for the initiative to hold this Summit. He said: “I express my gratitude to my brother Ilham and through him to brotherly Azerbaijan again for the initiative to hold this Summit, which is a manifestation of brotherhood.”

President Erdogan also expressed his gratitude to Uzbekistan, the current chair of the Organization of Turkic States.

Concluding the Summit, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev expressed his confidence that the decisions made at the event would make a new contribution to the development of cooperation among Turkic countries.

The event ended with the signing of the Ankara Declaration and the Protocol on the establishment of the civil protection mechanism.

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The event was initially due to be held in Shusha. However, following the devastating earthquake in Türkiye, President Ilham Aliyev put forward a proposal to hold the Summit in Ankara in an effort to support the brotherly country. After coordination of the matter with the leaders of other participating countries, the relevant decision was made. This is yet another clear example of the Azerbaijan-Türkiye brotherhood, as well as a sign of mutual support and respect in the Turkic world.

Devoted to the theme of “Disaster-Emergency Management and Humanitarian Assistance”, the Summit serves as a high-level platform for the discussion of the extraordinary agenda of the Organization aroused due to the recent earthquake disaster happened in southern and southeastern regions of Türkiye. The leaders elaborated on devising solid multilateral cooperation and coordination mechanisms within the framework of the Organization in the fight against disasters as well as held consultations on current challenges in the region.