President Ilham Aliyev receives delegation led by Turkish minister of transport and infrastructure (PHOTO) (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted at 14:06 on Dec.3).

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 3

Trend:

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Turkey Mehmet Cahit Turhan.

Welcoming members of the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said: Welcome. I am glad you are taking part in the Bakutel exhibition. We are very pleased that Turkey is participating in the current exhibition at a high level, at the ministerial level. This is a very important event that has traditionally been held for many years. Of course, on one hand, it demonstrates Azerbaijan’s achievements in this area, and on the other, it reflects the technological development of friendly countries.

As you know, together with the distinguished President and my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan, we have recently celebrated the opening of TANAP. This is further manifestation of Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship. This is a friendship project because Turkey and Azerbaijan have shown a joint will. As you know, many years of discussion were held to deliver Azerbaijani gas to Europe, and the NABUCCO project was selected. However, its technical and financial side was not resolved. In essence, we lost several years. Finally, in 2012, the historic Istanbul Agreement was signed on our joint decision, and it paved the way for TANAP. I should also note that the vast majority of companies involved in the construction of TANAP are Turkish companies. They have done about 80 percent of the work. We have already commissioned this giant project. This is truly a historic achievement.

There is very successful cooperation in the area you are leading. Of course, first of all, we should note the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. This is also a historic project. Azerbaijan has linked Asia with Europe by rail through Turkey. This was also done by us for the first time in history. Freight traffic is currently growing. Today, goods from the countries of Central Asia, China and even Afghanistan are delivered to world markets along this route. Of course, this became possible thanks to Turkish-Azerbaijani unity and friendship. This strengthens our position and increases our strength. I am sure that the road will function forever and the volume of cargo will increase.

In addition, Turkey's technological development is progressing fast. We see and rejoice in it. Tremendous success has been achieved in industrial sphere and in the field of information technology. Turkey also has very high scientific potential. Of course, we strive for closer cooperation in this area because further development of the world largely depends on these innovations and technological development. Joint scientific research and practical steps will certainly strengthen our cooperation further. In a word, there is still a lot to do. I am sure that we will do all the work in a timely manner, as was the case with TANAP and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars.

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Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Turkey Mehmet Cahit Turhan said: Dear Mr resident! I want to once again express my satisfaction with visiting the brotherly country on the occasion of the Bakutel exhibition organized by Azerbaijan at the global level.

I would also like to thank you for receiving us despite your busy schedule. I convey to you the greetings of our distinguished president. Taking this opportunity, on behalf of our government and the Turkish people I sincerely congratulate you for the 25th anniversary of Bakutel, the Azerbaijan International Exhibition of Telecommunications, Innovations and High Technologies, which has been very successfully held so far and enjoys authority at the international level, and wish you success in future activities.

Under your leadership, Azerbaijan is implementing important reforms and making serious progress in all areas. We are happy for every achievement and every success. We sincerely believe that Azerbaijan will increase these successes and continue to be a bright star in our region.

Looking from the side, we see today that Azerbaijan has transformed political and public stability into economic and universal human wealth. Thanks to the saying of the late national leader Heydar Aliyev that “We are one nation in two states”, our fraternal peoples have consolidated their forces for the benefit of the two countries and our region.

Our relations built on an indestructible basis have traveled a significant path and reached the level of strategic partnership. And indeed, we are implementing important projects together. Having implemented two such major important projects as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, we continue to develop our energy strategy from a global and regional point of view. In addition, thanks to the efforts and financial resources of primarily Azerbaijan and Turkey, the implementation of the project of the 21st century – the Southern Gas Corridor worth $45 billion – has begun.

Dear Mr. president, having been initiated due to the significant contribution and strong will of Your Excellency and our esteemed President, these projects usher new opportunities for Turkey and Azerbaijan and provide important support for the goal of turning into a joint force.

Based on the sayings of great leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk that “The grief of Azerbaijan is our grief, their joy is our joy” and national leader Heydar Aliyev that “We are one nation in two states”, Turkey and Azerbaijan will always be next to each other. From now on, our task is to further promote the strategic partnership between the two fraternal countries and share in each other’s joy and sorrow under the leadership of our President and Your Excellency.

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President Ilham Aliyev thanked for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan`s greetings and asked the minister to extend his greetings to the Turkish president.

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