BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 25. Following the ceremony of signing documents, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan have made press statements, Trend reports.
First, the head of state made his statement.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- My dear brother.
Welcome to Nakhchivan. I am sincerely greeting you.
My dear brother, this is your second visit to Nakhchivan, and the documents signed during the visit will serve the development of Türkiye-Azerbaijan relations.
The construction of the Igdir-Nakhchivan gas pipeline is an important event in the history of our fraternal relations. It will give a new impetus to our relations and largely ensure the energy security of Nakhchivan.
Nakhchivan is the ancient land of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, in 1920, Western Zangezur was severed from Azerbaijan by Soviet authorities, and thus, the geographical link between the rest of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan was cut off. When Armenia began to pursue the policy of aggression against Azerbaijan, it had territorial claims against Nakhchivan. Fierce battles were going on here as well, and precisely at that time, under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev, the great son of Azerbaijan – at that time he was the head of Nakhchivan – Nakhchivan put the enemy back in its place and managed to protect its territory. However, since Nakhchivan's energy supply came from the rest of Azerbaijan at that time, Armenia cut off all electricity and gas lines, and Nakhchivan was practically under siege. There was no electricity, no gas, winters are very cold, so Nakhchivan lived without gas for 15 years.
However, according to the agreement signed with the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2005, the supply of gas from Iran to Nakhchivan was ensured as an exchange deal. The construction of the Igdir-Nakhchivan gas pipeline will create conditions for supplying natural gas to Nakhchivan through a second line.
In a few days, or rather, in three days, the Third Türkiye-Azerbaijan Energy Forum will be held in Nakhchivan with the participation of Turkish and Azerbaijani officials and international organizations, and I am sure that the results of this forum will be successful. Although Nakhchivan does not have gas or oil, it has the sun, and we have major plans for the construction of solar power plants in Nakhchivan. If these plans come true, Nakhchivan can become a green energy zone. Because there is a great potential for the construction of both solar and wind power plants, as well as hydropower plants, it will be possible to export at least 1000 megawatts of green energy from Nakhchivan to Türkiye in the future.
Five days ago, Azerbaijan fully secured its sovereignty. Whereas three years ago, as a result of the second Karabakh war, we ended the occupation, and on April 23 of this year we fully restored our territorial integrity by establishing a border checkpoint on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border in the direction of Lachin, five days ago we fully restored our sovereignty. As a result of the anti-terror measures carried out within 24 hours, actually even less than that, the Armenian army illegally stationed in the territory of Azerbaijan surrendered, accepted our conditions, and thus Azerbaijan fully secured its state sovereignty.
Although five days have passed, humanitarian aid has already started coming in from Azerbaijan to its Karabakh region and its ethnic Armenian population. Fuel, oil, diesel, gasoline, food, medicines and other humanitarian aid are being provided, and this once again shows that people living in the Karabakh region are citizens of Azerbaijan regardless of their ethnicity. Their security and rights will be ensured by the state of Azerbaijan.
A few days ago, a meeting was held between the representatives of the ethnic Armenians of Karabakh and representatives of the state bodies of Azerbaijan in the city of Yevlakh. A second meeting is being held today, the results of which I have not yet been informed about. However, I am sure that the process of integration of the Armenian population of Karabakh into Azerbaijani society will be successful.
My dear brother, when this incident happened, you were in America, in New York, attending a session of the UN General Assembly, and there, from the highest lectern in the world, you made statements expressing the interests of the state of Azerbaijan. You made fair statements, you made statements based entirely on international law: Karabakh is the land of Azerbaijan. This is both true and at the same time fully consistent with international law. At the same time, it is yet another fraternal step shown by Türkiye. During the second Karabakh war, you and the entire Turkish people were with us. In the first hours of the war, your words “Azerbaijan is not alone, Türkiye is with Azerbaijan” were a serious signal and message for many. The people of Azerbaijan have never and will never forget that political and moral support.
Two years ago, in the city of Shusha, which was liberated after a long occupation, the Shusha Declaration, a declaration of alliance, raised our relations to a new level. Today, these relations are at their highest, and we are now experiencing a very active period of our relations in all directions. We laid the foundation of the Igdir-Nakhchivan gas pipeline today. At one time, we laid the foundation of the TANAP project together, we inaugurated the TANAP pipeline, and today we are starting work on the construction of a gas pipeline from Türkiye to Nakhchivan, which is a part of Azerbaijan. The signing of the Protocol of Intent on the construction of the Kars-Nakhchivan railway is also a historic event. I am sure that this project will be successfully implemented and serve Azerbaijan, Türkiye and other countries as a component of the Middle Corridor.
At the same time, we have exchanged ideas regarding the expansion of the potential of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, and I informed you that the capacity of this railway will be increased from 1 million tons to 5 million tons in the coming months. The construction of the railway connecting Azerbaijan with Nakhchivan and Türkiye is also progressing successfully. The work in the territory of Azerbaijan will most likely be completed by the end of next year. In other words, all these historic projects show again how interconnected and close our countries are. By supporting each other, we also channel regional issues in the right direction. So, it is our common interest that there should be peace and tranquility in the region, there should be no wars, and the territorial integrity of countries should be ensured. Your support for Azerbaijan during the second Karabakh war, before and after, is an important factor in achieving this goal.
We are living in truly historic moments, days and years for Azerbaijan. The second Karabakh war, our historic Victory, the restoration of our sovereignty as a result of a successful operation five days ago are historic events, and we are rightly proud of them.
Important steps have been taken in all directions, including those to increase our turnover. Our turnover last year was more than 6 billion dollars, but it has increased by 40 percent in seven months of this year, and I am sure it will increase even more. It is true that the target is measured in high numbers. Some time ago, we aimed for a turnover of 15 billion dollars. At that time, the turnover was at about 2 billion dollars, but now it exceeds 6 billion dollars. We will probably reach it in the near future. A preferential trade agreement has also been signed, and the number of products on that list is also increasing. Therefore, I am sure that we will successfully achieve this.
My dear brother and distinguished guests, I sincerely welcome you to Nakhchivan again. I would like to once again express the immense love and affection of the Azerbaijani people for you. I wish you and the brotherly people of Türkiye continued successes and new victories. Thank you.
x x x
Then the President of Türkiye made a statement.
Statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
- Dear Mr. President, my dear Brother.
Dear representatives of the media!
I greet you with the most sincere feelings on behalf of myself and my delegation.
After the presidential elections, I made my first trip to Baku and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in June. This time, I am very pleased to be together with you in Nakhchivan, which connects Türkiye with the Turkic world. I am proud to observe the progress achieved by Nakhchivan since my last visit in 2008. On the 100th anniversary of his birth, I pay tribute to Heydar Aliyev, the National Leader of Azerbaijan, who played a tremendous role in enabling Nakhchivan to reach its current level.
Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are at an exceptional level that is unparalleled in the world. Within the framework of the motto “One nation, two states”, we continue our activities to strengthen our relations and cooperation in all fields. The Shusha Declaration I signed together with my brother Ilham has been a turning point that raised our relations to the level of alliance. Nakhchivan has a special place in our relations with Azerbaijan due to its strategic importance throughout history. Today, Nakhchivan has great potential in terms of economy, transport and energy lines. Together with the creation of regional transport lines, we will have the opportunity to fully unlock this potential.
The importance of the International East-West Middle Corridor passing through the Caspian Sea has been better understood as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the wars in our region. In this regard, the Igdir-Nakhchivan gas pipeline project, which we laid the foundation of a little while ago, will further deepen our partnership with Azerbaijan in the field of energy and also contribute to European energy security. In addition to the Kars-Nakhchivan railway project, contracts for residential buildings and electricity were signed a little earlier. Thus, we have once again expressed our determination to develop our relations in the fields of transport, logistics and energy.
On behalf of myself and my nation, I would like to thank our Azerbaijani brothers for their strong support in healing the wounds of the February 6 earthquakes. We will never forget the sincerity of our brothers who loaded their belongings on their cars and set off to help our nation.
After our press statements, we will inaugurate the military restoration and production complex, which we have modernized. This project will also make significant contributions to our cooperation in the field of defense industry.
Dear representatives of the media, critical processes took place in our region in recent days. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan could not find the necessary response to its legitimate and justified concerns, which it had been repeatedly expressing in the last three years after the second Karabakh war. As a result, it was forced to implement anti-terror measures in its sovereign territories. It was a source of pride for us that these measures were successfully completed in an extremely short time, with great care for the rights of civilians. I pray for Allah’s mercy on our brothers who were martyred during the events and extend my condolences to their relatives. I wish speedy recovery to our wounded.
We were lucky enough to see this prayer by the late Huseyn Javid, a prominent poet of Nakhchivan and a close friend of Mehmet Akif, being accepted a century ago:
Our country was spared from all troubles,
Long live our glorious army...
I heartily congratulate the victorious Azerbaijan Army on the occasion of both its historic victory and its humane treatment of civilians. Our Azerbaijani brothers have once again shown the justice and mercy characteristic of Turks to the whole world.
Following the recent victory, new windows of opportunity have been opened for comprehensive normalization of the situation in the region. I believe this opportunity must be appreciated. We expect Armenia to accept the hand of peace extended to it and be sincere. As I always emphasize, there are no losers in peace. The creation of peace, stability and prosperity in our region is our duty to our people. We are determined to fulfill this duty and we are sincere. We want the other side to show the same sincerity.
With these thoughts, I once again express my satisfaction to be visiting Azerbaijan. I once again thank the President and my dear brother Ilham Aliyev and all our Azerbaijani brothers for the hospitality shown to me and my delegation. May Allah make our love and brotherhood permanent. Thank you.