Ilham Aliyev and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are making press statements

25 September 2023, 16:35
Ilham Aliyev and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are making press statements

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

First, the head of state made his statement.

Statement by President Ilham Aliyev

- My dear brother.

Distinguished guests.

I warmly welcome you to Nakhchivan.

My dear brother, this is your second visit to Nakhchivan, and the documents signed during the visit will serve the development of Türkiye-Azerbaijan relations.

The construction of the Igdir-Nakhchivan Gas Pipeline is a milestone in the history of our brotherly relations. It will give a new impetus to our relations and significantly enhance the energy security of Nakhchivan.

Nakhchivan is the ancient land of Azerbaijan. Regrettably, in 1920, West Zangezur was severed from Azerbaijan by Soviet authorities, and thus, the geographical link between the rest of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan was cut off. When Armenia began to pursue a policy of aggression against Azerbaijan, it had territorial claims against Nakhchivan. Fierce battles were going on here as well, and precisely at that time, under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev, the great son of Azerbaijan – at that time, he was the head of Nakhchivan – Nakhchivan repelled the enemy and managed to protect its territory. However, since Nakhchivan's energy supply came from mainland Azerbaijan at that time, Armenia cut off all electricity and gas lines, and Nakhchivan was practically under siege. There was no electricity or gas, and the winters were freezing, so Nakhchivan survived without gas for 15 years.

Yet, according to the agreement signed with the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2005, the gas supply from Iran to Nakhchivan was ensured as a swap deal. The construction of the Igdir-Nakhchivan Gas Pipeline will create conditions for supplying natural gas to Nakhchivan via a second line.

In a few days, or rather, in three days, the Third Türkiye-Azerbaijan Energy Forum will be held in Nakhchivan with the participation of Turkish and Azerbaijani officials and international organizations, and I am sure that the outcome of this forum will be successful. Although Nakhchivan does not have gas or oil, it has the sun, and we have major plans for constructing solar power plants in Nakhchivan. If these plans come true, Nakhchivan can become a green energy zone. Because there is enormous potential for the construction of both solar and wind power plants and hydropower plants, it will be possible to export at least 1000 megawatts of green energy from Nakhchivan to Türkiye in the future.

Five days ago, Azerbaijan fully secured its sovereignty. Three years ago, as a result of the Second Karabakh War, we ended the occupation. On April 23 of this year, we fully restored our territorial integrity by establishing a border checkpoint on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border in the direction of Lachin. Five days ago, we fully restored our sovereignty. As a result of the anti-terror measures carried out within 24 hours, even less than that, the Armenian army illegally stationed in the territory of Azerbaijan surrendered, accepted our conditions, and thus Azerbaijan fully secured its state sovereignty.

Although five days have passed, humanitarian aid has already started flowing in from Azerbaijan to its Karabakh region and ethnic Armenian population. Fuel, oil, diesel, food, medicines and other humanitarian aid are being provided, and this once again shows that people living in the Karabakh region are citizens of Azerbaijan regardless of their ethnicity. The state of Azerbaijan will ensure their security and rights.

A few days ago, a meeting was held between the representatives of the ethnic Armenians of Karabakh and representatives of the state bodies of Azerbaijan in the city of Yevlakh. A second meeting is being held today, the results of which I have not yet been informed about. However, I am sure that the process of integration of the Armenian population of Karabakh into Azerbaijani society will be successful.

My dear brother, when this incident happened, you were in America, in New York, attending a session of the UN General Assembly, and there, from the highest rostrum in the world, you made statements expressing the interests of the state of Azerbaijan. You made fair statements. You made statements based entirely on international law: Karabakh is the land of Azerbaijan. This is both true and, at the same time, entirely consistent with international law. It is yet another brotherly step demonstrated by Türkiye. You and the Turkish people were with us during the Second Karabakh War. In the first hours of the war, your words “Azerbaijan is not alone, Türkiye is with Azerbaijan” were a serious signal and message for many. The people of Azerbaijan have never and will never forget that political and moral support.

Two years ago, in the city of Shusha, liberated after a long occupation, the Shusha Declaration, a declaration of alliance, was signed that elevated our relations to a new level. These relations are at their highest today, and we are now experiencing a very active engagement period in all directions. We laid the foundation of the Igdir-Nakhchivan Gas Pipeline today. There was a time when we laid the foundation of the TANAP project together. We inaugurated the TANAP pipeline, and today, we are starting work on constructing a gas pipeline from Türkiye to Nakhchivan – Azerbaijan’s inalienable part. The signing of the Protocol of Intent on constructing the Kars-Nakhchivan railway is also a historic event. I am sure this project will be successfully implemented and serve Azerbaijan, Türkiye and other countries as a component of the Middle Corridor.

At the same time, we have exchanged ideas regarding the expansion of the potential of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, and I informed you that the capacity of this railway will be increased from 1 million tons to 5 million tons in the coming months. The construction of the railway connecting Azerbaijan with Nakhchivan and Türkiye is also progressing successfully. The work in the territory of Azerbaijan will most likely be completed by the end of next year. In other words, all these historic projects show again how interconnected and close our countries are. By supporting each other, we also channel regional issues in the right direction. So, it is our common interest that there should be peace and tranquility in the region, there should be no wars, and the territorial integrity of countries should be ensured. Your support for Azerbaijan during the Second Karabakh War, before and after, is critical in achieving this goal.

We are living in truly historic moments, days and years for Azerbaijan. The Second Karabakh War, our historic Victory, and the restoration of our sovereignty thanks to a successful operation five days ago are historic events, and we are rightly proud of them.

Necessary steps have been taken in all directions, including increasing our trade turnover. Our turnover last year was more than 6 billion USD, but it has increased by 40 percent in seven months of this year, and I am sure it will continue to grow. Indeed, we have set the bar relatively high. Some time ago, we aimed for a turnover of 15 billion USD. The turnover was about 2 billion USD at that time, but now it exceeds 6 billion USD. We will probably reach it soon. A preferential trade agreement has also been signed, and the number of products on that list is also increasing. Therefore, I am sure that we will successfully achieve this.

My dear brother and distinguished guests, I sincerely welcome you to Nakhchivan again. I want to express once again the immense love and affection of the Azerbaijani people for you. I wish you and the brotherly people of Türkiye enduring success and new victories. Thank you.

x x x

Then, the President of Türkiye made a statement.

Statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

- Dear Mr. President, my dear Brother.

Ladies and gentlemen.

Dear representatives of the media!

I greet you with the sincerest feelings on behalf of myself and my delegation.

After the presidential elections, I made my first trip to Baku and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in June. I am delighted to be together with you this time in Nakhchivan, which connects Türkiye with the Turkic world. I am proud to observe the progress achieved by Nakhchivan since my last visit in 2008. On the 100th anniversary of his birth, I pay tribute to Heydar Aliyev, the National Leader of Azerbaijan, who played a tremendous role in enabling Nakhchivan to reach the present level.

Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are at an exceptional level that is unparalleled in the world. Under the motto “One nation, two states,” we continue our endeavors to strengthen our relations and cooperation in all fields. The Shusha Declaration I signed with my brother Ilham was a turning point that raised our relations to the alliance level. Nakhchivan has a special place in our relations with Azerbaijan due to its strategic importance throughout history. Today, Nakhchivan has excellent economic, transportation, and energy potential. With the creation of regional transportation lines, we will have the opportunity to unlock this potential fully.

The importance of the International East-West and Middle Corridor passing through the Caspian Sea has been better acknowledged due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the wars in our region. In this regard, the Igdir-Nakhchivan Gas Pipeline project, which we just laid the foundation of, will further deepen our partnership with Azerbaijan in the energy field and contribute to European energy security. In addition to the Kars-Nakhchivan railway project, residential buildings and electricity contracts were signed a little earlier. Thus, we have again expressed our determination to develop our relations in transportation, logistics and energy.

On behalf of myself and my nation, I would like to thank our Azerbaijani brothers for their strong support in healing the wounds of the February 6 earthquakes. We will never forget the sincerity of our brothers who loaded their belongings on their cars and set off to help our nation.

After our press statements, we will inaugurate the military restoration and production complex, which we have modernized. This project will also significantly contribute to our cooperation in the defense industry.

Dear media representatives, critical processes have taken place in our region in recent days. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan saw no adequate response in addressing its legitimate and justified concerns, which it had repeatedly expressed in the last three years after the Second Karabakh War. Therefore, it was forced to implement anti-terror measures in its sovereign territories. It was a source of pride for us that these measures were successfully completed in an extremely short time, with great care for the rights of civilians. I pray for Allah’s mercy on our martyred brothers during the events and extend my condolences to their relatives. I wish a speedy recovery to our wounded.

We were lucky enough to see this prayer delivered a century ago by the late Huseyn Javid, a prominent poet of Nakhchivan and a close friend of Mehmet Akif, being accepted:

“Our country was spared from all troubles,

Long live our glorious army...”

I warmly congratulate the victorious Army of Azerbaijan on the occasion of both its historic victory and its humane treatment of civilians. Our Azerbaijani brothers have once again shown the justice and mercy characteristic of Turks to the whole world.

Following the recent victory, new windows of opportunity have emerged for comprehensive normalization of the situation in the region. I believe this opportunity must be appreciated. We anticipate that Armenia will graciously accept the offer of reconciliation and demonstrate genuine commitment. As I consistently underscore, the pursuit of peace knows no adversaries. Our obligation to our citizens is to actively foster peace, stability, and prosperity within our region. We are resolute in our determination to discharge this responsibility, and our sincerity in this regard is unwavering. We earnestly hope for the reciprocation of this sincerity from the opposing side.

With these thoughts, I once again express my satisfaction to be visiting Azerbaijan. Again, I thank the President, my dear brother Ilham Aliyev and all our Azerbaijani brothers for the hospitality shown to me and my delegation. May Allah perpetuate our love and brotherhood. Thank you.