Azerbaijani president receives delegation led by Turkish FM (PHOTO) (UPDATE)
Details added (first version posted at 23:26 on Feb.5)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Welcoming the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- You are welcome, dear Mevlut Bey. I am very glad to see you again. A very important meeting at the level of foreign ministers will be held in Baku tomorrow. This is the first meeting of foreign ministers to be held in Baku after the Summit. As you know, last year Azerbaijan took over chairmanship of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States. As the country chairing the organization, we will try throughout the year to work hard with the support of member countries to further strengthen cooperation, friendship and brotherhood among these countries. At the same time, your visit is a good opportunity to once again discuss bilateral issues. You and I recently met in Davos. We meet quite regularly. A meeting of the Turkey-Azerbaijan Strategic Cooperation Council will be held in Baku in the near future, and distinguished President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be our guest.
I am sure that Turkish-Azerbaijani relations will develop successfully this year as well. Last year, we made huge strides and together celebrated the TANAP project reaching the border with Europe. In addition, many important projects are being successfully implemented. With regard to the activities of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, it has now acquired wider proportions and already transports goods from many sources in European and Asian directions. I am sure that the significance of this railway will gradually increase. This is our joint successful project.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to you for the recent evacuation of Azerbaijani citizens from China. This is another manifestation of Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherhood. You showed the same attitude towards the citizens of Azerbaijan as you did to your own citizens, safely delivered them by plane to Turkey – to their homeland. Of course, this step, this act is very much appreciated in Azerbaijan.
At the same time, at a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg last month, representatives of Turkey in their entirety supported the just cause of Azerbaijan and once again showed solidarity. They once again demonstrated that they really stand for justice. In turn, the Azerbaijani delegation always supports Turkey. We, as people who worked in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, know this organization quite well. Unfortunately, this organization has targeted Azerbaijan for over the course of 20 years and Turkey for even longer. I remember that when I started working in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe as head of the Azerbaijani delegation, my first step was to organize a meeting of the Azerbaijani and Turkish delegations. On the first day, we met and agreed to constantly support each other in all matters. I believe that, unfortunately, since that time, the Council of Europe has undergone a process of degradation. This organization is losing its importance in the international arena. It is not able to exert any influence on the developments unfolding in the world. The credibility of the organization has declined, and the main reason for this is probably the hypocrisy, double standards and injustice prevailing in it.
To be honest, the Azerbaijani people have long lost hope for this organization because for almost 20 years, at various times, it was fulfilling a political order, choosing Azerbaijan as a target, fabricating and spreading incredible lies about us. Azerbaijan is portrayed as a backward country and the positive processes taking place in Azerbaijan are not taken into account. They try to describe Azerbaijan only in black colors and again, relying on unfounded and falsified data, publish reports and adopt resolutions. There are allegedly political prisoners here and democratic process are supposedly obstructed in Azerbaijan. All this is a lie, there are no political prisoners in Azerbaijan – we know this well. Meanwhile, the countries that do have political prisoners are ignored. I can cite Armenia as an example. For more than a year, the former president of Armenia has been under arrest. He was arrested after declaring a desire to engage in active politics, and has been in prison for more than a year. Also under investigation is the president who led Armenia two years ago. A criminal case has been instituted against him and, according to the information circulated in the media, his case has been referred to court. The main reason is that former presidents criticized the activities of the current government. Journalists are arrested in Armenia. I am told that the head of a media agency was recently arrested. A few months ago, one of the journalists began a hunger strike in prison and died. However, none of these facts are taken into account in the Council of Europe. Why? Why do they show one attitude towards Armenia and a different one towards Azerbaijan and Turkey? We know the answer to this question too well, and I want to note once again: it would be good if the Council of Europe dealt with these issues. Let the Council of Europe pay attention to police brutality and violence, police killing people in leading European countries, condemn these countries and make a comment to their law enforcement agencies. We are not hearing this. We see this on television: practically on a regular basis people in leading European capitals are regularly beaten up, persecuted, insulted, killed, their eyes are hollowed out, they are set the dogs at and are crushed by horses. This is supposed to be democracy. When we talk about this – I often said this quite openly to people coming here from Europe and trying to criticize us – but they do not respond and remain silent. But after leaving the office, they begin their ugly activities again and try to tarnish us. Of course, we cannot tolerate this. We are fighting alongside Turkey, just as we done together in the past.
You were elected to a high post in the Council of Europe, were the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. When you held the post, this organization demonstrated a fair position. You did not allow it to become an instrument in someone else's hands. As a very respected and independent person, you weathered the pressure and pursued an independent policy. Therefore, at that time, the Council of Europe somewhat seemed to have restored its real appearance. But I want to say again: this organization, unfortunately, does not have any authority today. Its decisions are absolutely irrelevant for us. The latest resolution adopted in connection with Azerbaijan has no meaning for us; for us it has no more value than a piece of paper. We do not accept any of the far-fetched accusations contained in it and will not fulfill any of their “requirements”.
Our cause is just. Today, Turkey is a power center on a global scale, and we are very pleased about this. All the successes of Turkey are very significant for us, they inspire us. Together we did a great job and always stood for truth and justice. I am sure that this will continue to be the case. Not a single third-party force will be able to influence Turkey or Azerbaijan. We, as two fraternal countries, will continue to follow the path of friendship, brotherhood and independence. You are welcome again!
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Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu said:
- Dear Mr President. First of all, I want to express my deep appreciation for the welcome. Let me convey to you the greetings and best wishes of the President, your brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you!
Mevlut Cavusoglu: We experienced a sense of pride when we saw you in Davos recently. But most importantly, we were able to hear your views related to the future not only of fraternal Azerbaijan, but also our region in some of the panels during the forum.
We are best aware of the contribution that Azerbaijan, a country successfully chairing the Turkic Council, is making to the unity of the Turkic world. From this point of view, the Summit was very successful. As a result of the decisions made at this Summit under your leadership, we, foreign ministers, will also hold our meeting and work together with our friends tomorrow, Inshallah.
Dear Mr President, there is no need to thank us for the Azerbaijani brothers evacuated from China together with our citizens. Because we are the sons of one nation. As the national leader, our great father Heydar Aliyev said, we are one nation in two states. Therefore, of course, we could not separate our brothers from our own citizens and leave them there. Now they are in Turkey and in good conditions. They write to me. We keep in touch. You would do the same.
In addition, of course, we will support each other, whether in the Council of Europe or any other platform. As you said, dear Mr President, double standards exist everywhere. Unfortunately, there are organizations that obey ideology. One of them is the Council of Europe. We are telling the new Secretary General, the new Chairman, everyone: you are losing your positions, we can help you rectify the situation. But, unfortunately, this is the situation.
We have learned from you, we are learning how to support each other. Your words “Turkey is not here, but I am here, we are here” cannot be forgotten by any Turk, a citizen of the Republic of Turkey. Under your leadership, we will continue to interact and collaborate to overcome all these difficulties. Under your leadership, we will bring Turkey and Azerbaijan to our goals, Inshallah. Together we will continue the struggle against double standards and those who show such an attitude towards us. We always say that it is our duty to uphold the rights and fair struggle of Azerbaijan, as well as Turkey. Thank you again for your welcome!
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much, thank you! Please convey my heartfelt greetings to my dear brother, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. We look forward to seeing him in Azerbaijan.
Dear Mevlut Bey, let me welcome you again – welcome to Azerbaijan! You are our dear guest. You are making a huge contribution to the development of Turkish-Azerbaijani relations. You wholeheartedly love Azerbaijan, have held various posts and always supported and defended us. You and I have known each other for a long time, we worked together in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and have always supported each other.
You own great merits in the development of Turkey. You have played a special role in turning fraternal Turkey into a power center on a global scale today. You are well known in Azerbaijan. People love you in Azerbaijan, show great respect for you as a friend, brother of our country and people. Considering all these merits, you are being awarded the high order of the Azerbaijani state – the Order of “Dostlug”. Please let me present this high order to you.
President Ilham Aliyev presented the Order of Dostlug to Mevlut Cavusoglu.
President Ilham Aliyev: Congratulations!
Mevlut Cavusoglu: Dear Mr President, I am honored to receive your praise. I want to express my gratitude for the kind words. From the very beginning of my political activity, I considered it my duty to defend the rights not only of Turkey, but also of Azerbaijan. I learned this mainly from you. When we started our activities in the Council of Europe, you were the head of the Azerbaijani delegation. You defended Turkey, as well as Azerbaijan there. As I said, at meetings where Turkey was not present, you said the words “Turkey is not here, but I am here, we are” and always defended our rights. Turkey and Azerbaijan, as two fraternal countries, will always be together. Thanks to your leadership, our bilateral relations have further strengthened, under the leadership of President Erdogan and Your Excellency as President of Azerbaijan.
Everybody approves of your position related to Azerbaijan and our region. We have repeatedly seen its benefits. The words of the national leader, our father, great Heydar Aliyev are the guiding light for us: We are one nation in two states. Of course, as sons of one nation, we will protect each other, help each other. As foreign minister – let my brother Elmar not be jealous – I have always worked as foreign minister not only for Turkey, but also for Azerbaijan.
The greatest happiness for us is the approval of our leaders. But the greatest honor and reward for us is to see the flags of Azerbaijan and Turkey, Turkic flags, waving all over the world. In order for our glorious flags to fly all over the world, I will continue to work not only in the political life, but also throughout my entire life, for the benefit of fraternal Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani people, as I do for Turkey. I am deeply grateful for this order, dear Mr President.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you!
Mevlut Cavusoglu: Let me express my highest consideration to you.