Ilham Aliyev receives delegation led by head of Turkey-Azerbaijan interparliamentary friendship group (PHOTO)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb. 10
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by head of the Turkey-Azerbaijan interparliamentary friendship group Samil Ayrim.
Welcoming the guests, President Ilham Aliyev said:
It is a pleasure to see you again. Last year, we participated in many events and ceremonies together. We are meeting this year too. Last night, my dear brother, distinguished President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called me to congratulate on the occasion of the elections. As you know, a regular meeting of the Turkey-Azerbaijan Strategic Cooperation Council will be held in Baku in the near future. It is traditionally held every year in Turkey and Azerbaijan in an alternating manner. Preparations for this meeting are underway. I am sure that the relations between our two friendly and fraternal countries will successfully develop in 2020. Whereas last year we celebrated the TANAP project reaching the border with Europe, this year we will mark the commissioning of the Southern Gas Corridor.
Thank you for participating in the election as an observer. You put in a lot of effort and this is very important because our MPs are active, observe and share their opinions in the elections held both in Turkey and Azerbaijan. As far as I know, you made statements for the press yesterday. Once again, let me express my gratitude to you and say: You are welcome!
The head of the Turkish-Azerbaijani interparliamentary friendship group, Samil Ayrim, said:
Dear Mr. president! First of all, we want to thank you for receiving us. Of course, I hope the elections held yesterday become successful for Azerbaijan, for our region and for Turkey.
Together with me as chairman of the Turkey-Azerbaijan interparliamentary friendship group, the elections were also monitored by my associates. We conducted a very effective observation. The elections were held very objectively. We are all experienced people. Like my associates, I was an observer in practically all the elections held in Azerbaijan. We observed elections outside Azerbaijan too. In the current elections in Azerbaijan, we witnessed a level of organization that exceeded international standards. This is a must-see for the whole world. Unfortunately, we are worried about the biased attitude, in particular of the Council of Europe and a number of organizations towards Azerbaijan and Turkey. There are 10 of us in the friendship group of the Turkish Parliament but I must say to you quite frankly that all of our 600 MPs want to become members of this group. They wholeheartedly rejoice at the success of Azerbaijan.
On behalf of Turkey, we are deeply grateful to Your Excellency. First of all, for the fact that the elections were held transparently, in a calm atmosphere, and for the created atmosphere. Secondly, we welcome the level of organization of the Azerbaijani people, their commitment to their values. Thirdly, we also want to thank the candidates. Young candidates were quite active in the current elections. As is the case in Turkey, they carried out campaign work from home to home in the run-up to the elections. I believe that Azerbaijan will feel the benefits of that in future elections. Once again, on behalf of my associates, thank you.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to convey to you the most sincere greetings of the speaker of our parliament. And thank you very much again. Thank you!
President Ilham Aliyev said:
Thank you very much! These elections were indeed very important because they should support the reforms ongoing in Azerbaijan. The main objective of the early elections was to continue the reforms without wasting any time. Structural reforms have been carried out, both the government and the Presidential Administration have been reorganized and, of course, the Milli Majlis (parliament) could not stay on the sidelines of all this. Therefore, I am sure that these elections will play a very important part in the further development of Azerbaijan. Because our legislation must comply with the growing pace of development of the country. At the same time, our international relations are expanding and Azerbaijani MPs should continue to represent the country in international organizations at a proper level.
Currently, our country as a whole is pursuing a policy of giving preference to the younger generation. This, however, should be carried out in a very thoughtful manner. The experience of the older generation, the inclination of young people to innovation, its knowledge and attention to modern processes – we are striving for this unity. I believe we have achieved this. I was informed that the elections in the country were held in a very calm atmosphere, within the framework of the legislation and there were no worrying aspects.
There was a lot of interest in these elections. I don’t remember ever seeing more than 1,300 candidates in any parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. So this in itself indicates that the elections were held in a competitive environment and the process of registration of all candidates was fair. Such a number of candidates is an expression of confidence in the elections. Because if there was no confidence, these people would probably not have participated in the elections. Therefore, the current elections have a special role.
As for the opinion of certain international observation missions, we have long been accustomed to their negative opinion. In some cases, their conclusions are written in advance, and not by themselves but in other places, and then sent to them. We've seen this done repeatedly. You have also noted the negative attitude of the Council of Europe towards us. The latest manifestation of that has been a resolution which is based on lies. In other words, the adoption of this resolution essentially represents a flagrant interference in the parliamentary elections. First of all, this resolution is fake and we do not accept it. We reject the charges brought against us and will not comply with any of the “requirements” contained in it. Secondly, notice the timing of this resolution. Its adoption in the run-up of the parliamentary elections is a testament to the negative and unfair attitude towards Azerbaijan.
In a recent meeting with our close friend Mevlut Cavusoglu, I shared my thoughts about this. He also shares our position, and we are well aware that the Council of Europe applies double standards in relation to Turkey and Azerbaijan. The positive processes taking place in our country are not taken into account, our growing power seems to be causing irritation and envy. Despite this, Turkey and Azerbaijan are moving forward as two friendly and fraternal countries. We are implementing very important projects and increasing our strength. I believe that our correct policies both internationally and in terms of the work carried out domestically are already a reality.
Most importantly, these elections are a manifestation of the will of the Azerbaijani people. If the Azerbaijani people were dissatisfied with these elections, they would show it. You also saw today that there is an absolutely democratic atmosphere in Azerbaijan. Elections and the way they were conducted are one of the manifestations of democracy. If the candidates were so active during the election campaign, which is actually the case and you also noted this – they went from home to home to communicate their position to the voters – then, of course, if they were unhappy with the elections, they would have stated that quite openly. But we have not come across such facts yet. This is further evidence that these elections reflect the will of the Azerbaijani people, and this is what matters most.
Participation in the electoral process as observers representing fraternal Turkey is particularly pleasing for us. I express my gratitude to you once again. I am sure that the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship group in the Turkish Grand National Assembly will continue to make a special contribution to the development of relations between our two countries and, as you noted, I am also absolutely sure of this, any member of the Turkish Parliament is a member of the friendship group with Azerbaijan because we have the same approach. We will continue to do great things together.