Details added (first version posted Oct. 15 on 13:00)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 15
The 7th Summit of the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States (Turkic Council) has been held in Baku.
Prior to the event, the heads of state and government posed for a group photo.
Opening the summit, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev greeted the heads of state and government.
He said: Dear Nursultan Abishevich [Nazarbayev], dear Heads of State and Government, Ladies and Gentlemen! My warm greetings to all of you – Welcome to Azerbaijan! I would like to express my gratitude to President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbai Jeenbekov for the successful chairmanship in the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States in the previous period. The first President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is taking part in the seventh Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States in the status of an Honorary President of the Turkic Council.
On the initiative of my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan and by a joint decision of the presidents of member-countries of the Turkic Council, distinguished Nursultan Nazarbayev has been awarded the title of Honorary President. Nursultan Nazarbayev has contributed a great deal to the development of ties in the Turkic world and to the emergence of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States.
I sincerely congratulate the Republic of Uzbekistan on joining the Turkic Council. I want to express my gratitude to the distinguished Shavkat Mirziyoyev for this wise decision. This decision of Uzbekistan will serve to further strengthen the unity and solidarity in the Turkic world and deepen our cooperation.
The expansion of cooperation between Hungary and the Turkic Council is also encouraging. I want to emphasize the personal role of the Prime Minister of Hungary, Mr. Viktor Orban, in this. Last month, a representative office of the Turkic Council started to operate in Budapest. I do hope that this office will give an impetus to the development of relations with European countries and regional organizations.
The head of state then presented the Supreme Order of the Turkic World to the First President of Kazakhstan, Honorary President of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Other speakers at the Summit included First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan Purli Agamuradov, and Secretary General of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States Baghdad Amreyev.
President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbai Jeenbekov noted that chairmanship of the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States has passed to Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev declared that the next Summit of the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States will be held in Turkey on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s suggestion. The event then featured a ceremony of signing documents.
Closing the 7th Summit of the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said: Thank you, dear Sooronbai Sharipovich. Dear colleagues! Having taken over chairmanship in the Turkic Council from Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan will make every effort in the coming period to strengthen the friendship and cooperation among our countries. The common roots that connect us, our history, culture and national values are an important basis for mutually beneficial activities. The development of cooperation between Turkic-Speaking States is one of the priority areas of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy.
The Seventh Summit of the Turkic Council coincides with the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Nakhchivan agreement. The summit of the heads of state held in the ancient Azerbaijani city of Nakhchivan in October 2009 set up a new institutional format for cooperation among our countries.
Zangezur is located between the main part of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan region. The taking of Zangezur from the rest of Azerbaijan and its accession to Armenia divided the great Turkic world geographically. However, thanks to the decisions we made in Nakhchivan and our joint work, we have further strengthened the unity of the Turkic world and will continue our brotherhood. In this sense, the decision to set up the Turkic Council during the summit held in Nakhchivan is also of tremendous significance for the Turkic world.
Over the past 10 years, the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States as an organization has come a long way in development. The Council plays an important role in the development of cooperation among our countries in political, economic, transport, humanitarian spheres, in the fields of tourism, information and communication technologies, etc. The relations of the Turkic Council with influential international organizations are expanding. Currently, fruitful cooperation is being maintained with such entities as the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the OSCE, the Organization for Economic Cooperation. TURKSOY, the Fund for Turkic Culture and Heritage, the Turkic Academy. This plays an important part in studying our rich cultural heritage and promoting our material and cultural values in the world.
By my executive order, 2019 was declared a “Year of Nasimi” in Azerbaijan. Another Nasimi festival has recently been completed. It is gratifying that TURKSOY has declared 2019 a Year of Nasimi to commemorate the 650th anniversary of brilliant Azerbaijani poet Imadaddin Nasimi.
The Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries works successfully and cooperates with a number of inter-parliamentary organizations. Cooperation in such fields as culture, science, education, tourism, youth and sports serves to further deepen the friendly and fraternal ties between our peoples.
Our summits are traditionally dedicated to topics which cover various areas of cooperation. The theme of our current event, “Development of Small and Medium Enterprises”, is of great relevance. In 2017, the Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprise was established in Azerbaijan. The objective of this agency is to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. A strong class of entrepreneurs with broad business opportunities has emerged in the country and abroad. To date, the Entrepreneurship Development Fund has provided 36,000 entrepreneurs with low-interest loans worth $1.4 billion. In 2018, the private sector’s share in the gross domestic product of our country amounted to 85 percent.
Over the past 16 years, Azerbaijan’s economy has more than tripled. More than $270 billion has been invested in the country, half of which is foreign. Azerbaijan is a state with a small external debt. Azerbaijan’s external debt accounts for only 17 percent of the gross domestic product. According to this indicator, we are ninth in the world.
The reforms carried out in the economic sphere are also approved by international organizations. The World Bank’s Doing Business report ranks Azerbaijan among top 20 most reforming countries. Azerbaijan is currently one of biggest investors in the Turkish economy. Thus, Azerbaijan’s investment in the Turkish economy is $15 billion and Turkey’s investment in the Azerbaijani economy is $12 billion.
The transport cooperation among our countries, historically located on the ancient Silk Road, is one of the important directions, of course. Azerbaijan is an active participant in the East-West transport corridor. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, commissioned in October 2017, is our joint contribution to the restoration of the historic Silk Road. The cargo handling capacity of the Baku International Sea Port is 15 million tons of cargo and 100,000 containers. If necessary, the cargo handling capacity of the port can be increased to 25 million tons and 1 million containers. Azerbaijan as a reliable transit country continues its efforts to facilitate the access of Turkic-speaking countries to world markets. In 2018, 8 million tons of cargo was transported from Turkic-speaking countries through Azerbaijan.
We attach great importance to cooperation in the energy sector. Azerbaijan offers its opportunities in this area too. A portion of the energy resources of our partners from Central Asia is transported to world markets via Azerbaijan.
We must intensify our efforts to attract foreign tourists to our countries and encourage the flow of tourists among our countries. In the nine months of 2019, a total of 2.4 million tourists visited Azerbaijan, of which 330,000 were people from Turkic-speaking countries. In the same period of 2018, this figure was 285,000.
Cooperation among our countries in the field of security is also expanding. Last month, the 22nd meeting of the Conference of Secret Services of Turkic-Speaking States was held in Baku. Cooperation in this area is important from the point of view of strengthening the security of our countries and ensuring regional stability.
As you know, there is no progress in the settlement of Azerbaijan’s most painful problem, the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, because of Armenia’s destructive policy. For about 30 years, Armenia, flagrantly violating the norms and principles of international law, has continued its aggressive policy against Azerbaijan. A policy of ethnic cleansing has been carried out in the occupied territories, more than a million of our compatriots have found themselves in the position of refugees and internally displaced persons. In these territories, the historical and cultural heritage belonging to the Azerbaijani people, Islamic monuments and mosques have been destroyed and razed to the ground.
Armenia is trying to establish close cooperation with Muslim countries. However, having destroyed mosques sacred to Muslims around the world, Armenia cannot be a friend of Muslim countries. This vandalism against our religion shows the Islamophobic essence of Armenia.
Four resolutions of the UN Security Council have been adopted in relation to the conflict, and they contain an unequivocal demand for an unconditional and complete withdrawal of occupying forces from Azerbaijani lands. Similar decisions and resolutions have been adopted by the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, NATO, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and other organizations. Armenia ignores the requirements of these resolutions and decrees and evades fulfillment of its international obligations.
Nagorno-Karabakh is historical Azerbaijani land. It is an integral part of Azerbaijan. The conflict must be resolved within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in accordance with the norms and principles of international law. The final statements of the summits of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States also constantly express support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of state borders. Taking this opportunity, I want to thank our partners who support a fair settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
From today, Azerbaijan takes over chairmanship of the Turkic Council. Let me assure you that during chairmanship in the organization, Azerbaijan will continue its efforts to further deepen cooperation among our countries both at bilateral and multilateral levels. Thank you!