Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the X Summit of the Turkic-Speaking Countries' Heads of State

16 September 2010, 17:50
Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the X Summit of the Turkic-Speaking Countries' Heads of State

Respected Mr. President and dear brother Abdullah Gul!

Dear friends and respected heads of state!

First of all, I would like to say that I am very pleased to visit fraternal Turkey again. I would like to express my gratitude to my dear brother Abdullah Gul for holding today’s summit at such a high level. Turkey has again taken responsibility for organising this wonderful initiative and holding the summit in Istanbul. I would like to thank you again for the hospitality you have shown us. I am sure we will achieve positive results at the summit and the rapid development of cooperation, friendship and brotherhood between our countries will be continued.

Last year’s summit held in the ancient Turkic land of Nakhchivan was a great event. I believe that since that time our relations have developed to a great extent. The friendly and fraternal ties between us have been strengthened both in bilateral and multilateral formats. On the eve of last summer, the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries (TurkPA) held its first plenary session. TurkPA’s Chief Secretariat was established in Baku. The Secretariat is operating successfully. At the same time, at the Nakhchivan summit, Azerbaijan proposed the creation of the TURKSOY Foundation. I am grateful to my dear colleagues for supporting this initiative and would like to say that preparatory works are in progress. The TURKSOY Foundation will be established in the near future and Azerbaijan will provide the Foundation with the necessary financial support. I believe this Foundation will assist in restoring and protecting cultural monuments, not only in Turkic-speaking countries, but also on all Turkic land. Historical and cultural research must be undertaken. We have to pay tribute to the development of friendship and fraternal relations between our nations in the field of cultural.

We are united by a common history and culture. For centuries our people have lived and worked together, supporting each other. I am very pleased that today our states cooperate successfully with each other and support each other as independent states in every area. We must try, and we are trying, to support each others’ views in all international institutions, to give each other political support and to be with each other on all issues. I would like to express my gratitude to the countries for this cooperation and for their display of good intentions.

As you all know, unfortunately, there has been no progress or results in resolving Azerbaijan’s most painful problem, the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Our lands have been occupied for many years. 20% of our lands are currently occupied by Armenia. As a result of this occupation and the policy of ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis, more than one million Azerbaijanis have been displaced from their homeland. This is an enormous injustice and humanitarian disaster. All international organizations and the world’s leading international institutions support Azerbaijan’s rights. There are four UN resolutions stipulating that Armenian armed forces must leave Azerbaijani lands unconditionally. Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity must be restored. OSCE decisions, numerous resolutions of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, decisions and resolutions made by such institutions as the European Parliament and the Council of Europe stipulate that the problem has to be solved fairly and in accordance with the principles of international law. Nevertheless, unfortunately, there is no result so far. 

Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s historical and eternal land. Azerbaijani people have lived and worked on this land for centuries. Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity is recognised by the international community. Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity must be restored. We would like to resolve this issue in the near future peacefully by negotiation. Azerbaijan is a multinational country. People of various nations and religions live in Azerbaijan as one family. Azerbaijan has never had conflicts or confrontations on religious or national grounds. The rights of all nations are protected in Azerbaijan. Armenian people have lived and still live on Azerbaijani land. Their rights are also protected.

People’s desire for self-determination must not disrupt countries’ territorial integrity. There should not be any conflict between these two concepts. International practice and international law support this position. The Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijanis to be returned to Nagorno-Karabakh should live according to a high degree of self-government within a single Azerbaijani state. These are rules dictated by international law. These are the rules of normal human behaviour.

We live in the 21st century, not the 19th century. We must develop dialogue between civilizations, to strengthen tendencies of friendship and cooperation between nations. In the 21st century, such crimes as disrupting the territorial integrity of a country recognised by the international community, conducting a policy of ethnic cleansing and carrying out the Khojaly genocide must not go unanswered. The international community must attempt to resolve this issue, not just with resolutions and decisions, but also by practical measures. In any case, we will continue to keep this issue on the agenda of all international organisations. We are certainly grateful for the support given by friendly and fraternal countries. First of all, we are grateful to Turkey for being with Azerbaijan at all times. All international institutions also support Azerbaijan. They have clearly expressed their opinions and points of view. Today, from this beautiful city, I would like to thank all our brothers who live in the Turkic world who support us.

The Turkic world is large. Since Zengezur, an ancient and inseparable Turkic land, was taken away from Azerbaijan by Armenia, the geographical continuity of the Turkic world has been lost. If we look at the map, we will see that if this historical injustice had not taken place, today we would have an integral Turkic world from the geographical point of view. However, geographical coordinates are not the only things that unite us. Our relations, brotherhood, and common past and present provide our unity. Our countries have been independent for about twenty years. In that period of time they have strengthened, developed and the foundations of governance have been laid. Today countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan strengthen Turkey whilst a large, strong Turkey strengthens us. Our strength is our unity. We have to try to strengthen this unity in all respects.

I would like to speak about the agreement signed yesterday which will make an essential contribution to Turkish-Azerbaijani relations. Yesterday Turkey and Azerbaijan set up the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council. I am sure that the Council’s work will be successful. We must do our best to move our relations forward in all fields. Subsidiary measures have to be implemented in order to expand mutual trade in the economic sector. There must be research into additional opportunities for mutual investment. Today, capital is being invested in Azerbaijan by fraternal countries and Azerbaijani companies are simultaneously investing in Turkic-speaking countries, cementing this process.

Today my dear brother Abdullah Gul noted that we are working together on energy security. This is an issue of special importance in Turkish-Azerbaijani relations. The region has benefited from the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum oil and gas pipelines. Natural resources are being transported from the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea thanks to the opening of these routes and corridors. Today, oil products from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are conveyed through Azerbaijan and Turkey to world markets. I am sure the benefits of this cooperation will continue to grow. There is great demand for multilateral collaboration in this field. The Caspian Sea is rich in natural resources. Turkey is a large market for us and this fraternal country also has great transit potential. Strengthening our efforts in this direction will, in turn, strengthen every country.

We are now actively engaged on a railway project. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will connect not only Turkey and Azerbaijan, but also Turkey and Central Asia, and Europe and Central Asia. This project is beneficial both economically and in uniting fraternal countries. Assignments for these projects have been allocated and work is now underway. I have no doubt that there will be more such projects in the future. The projects already implemented are proof that work conducted cooperatively, common initiatives, bring only benefit and profit to all countries involved.

I would like to reiterate that I attach great importance to today’s summit. I am very glad that a tradition once generated and later cancelled has now been restored. I mean the fact that summits are being held now. There was a summit last year, and this year we are holding it again. I hope that all our intentions and plans will be implemented in future and that the fraternal and friendly relations between our countries will continue to develop. Thank you.