Baku, December 3, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu have made statements for the press following their meeting in an expanded format.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev:
- Dear Prime Minister,
Ladies and gentlemen!
Let me welcome you to Azerbaijan again. Welcome to Azerbaijan! I am very glad that you are paying your first visit after the parliamentary election to the fraternal Azerbaijan. Taking this opportunity, I want to congratulate you on behalf of the Azerbaijani people on the great victory the Party you are leading has won in the parliamentary election. Your first official visit after the parliamentary election demonstrates once again the high level of Turkish-Azerbaijani relations.
At the same time, I want to congratulate Turkey on the recent G20 Summit held in Antalya. I would like to express my appreciation for the fact that Turkey invited Azerbaijan to this summit. You could invite only one country, and this country was Azerbaijan. I am grateful to you for that. It is very important for us - first of all, because Turkey, Azerbaijan and the world community saw how close we are to each other. In my opinion, there are no other countries in the world that would be so close to each other. We are united by history, a common culture, ethnic origin and language. At the same time, Turkey and Azerbaijan as two independent states are closely cooperating with each other. Turkey was the first country to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan. Since that day, our ties have been developing rapidly and comprehensively.
We are always next to each other and support each other at all times and in all matters. This is an unchanging policy. It is based on justice and our historical past. We want future generations also to maintain these relations at a high level. There are all the opportunities to do that, because our political interests overlap. We want our region to have peace and quiet and not to have confrontation. We want all nations and peoples to live peacefully, build their lives so that no-one interfered in the internal affairs of each other.
Turkish-Azerbaijani unity and policies play a stabilizing role in the region. Unfortunately, stability of the region has been disrupted, new threats and risks are emerging. We must be ready and we are prepared for these challenges. Of course, the stronger Turkey, the stronger Azerbaijan.
We always support each other in all international organizations. In particular, I wish to thank the Turkish people and government for supporting Azerbaijan's position in resolving the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As you know, Azerbaijan has been suffering from Armenian occupation for many years. Twenty per cent of our internationally recognized land is under Armenian occupation. Our cities, villages, mosques and historical monuments have been destroyed by the Armenians. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions related to the settlement of the conflict. The resolutions demand an unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces from our occupied lands, but Armenia ignores them, and these resolutions have remained on paper for more than 20 years. This and all other conflicts must be resolved in accordance with international law and within the territorial integrity of countries. There is no other option.
Today, we also exchanged views on our joint energy and transport projects. The work we are doing us for our countries, peoples, region and the world is of great importance. In particular, I want to highlight the TANAP project. TANAP is a Turkish-Azerbaijani project. We have started implementing this project together. Today, this project is an international project is the focus on a global scale. There are no problems with the implementation of TANAP. Today we discussed this issue once again. I am confident that this project will be implemented in due time - in 2018, perhaps even earlier. Thus, Azerbaijan will be able to export even larger volumes of natural gas to Turkey and then to Europe. Turkey and European countries will have access to new alternative sources. This project will only bring benefit to all parties.
Azerbaijan is rich in natural gas reserves. Proven gas reserves amount to 2.6 trillion cubic meters. Of course, our main resource base is the Shah Deniz project. But outside it, there are other huge gas fields, and our main export path is already known. It is Turkey and through Turkey – other European countries.
I am glad that along with this, we are successfully engaged in mutual investment. Both Turkish and Azerbaijani companies make mutual investments. In the coming years, Azerbaijan will invest about $20 billion in Turkey. Some of this investment has already been made, and this, of course, once again reflects our political will. One can make such investments only in friendly economies.
There is close cooperation in all other areas, including the humanitarian sphere. Excellent cooperation is maintained in the military sphere. Azerbaijan purchases weaponry for our army from Turkey. At the same time, we have repeatedly held joint military exercises both in Turkey and in Azerbaijan. This once again demonstrates our unity and multiplies our strength. Turkey and Azerbaijan are already a major factor in the developments unfolding in the region and Europe today.
We, as friends and brothers, are very pleased with the development and strengthening of Turkey in recent years, its growing role on a global scale. I want to say again that this multiplies our strength. We are becoming stronger, we are friends and brothers. This is the main thing, and we will continue to support each other. We will be next to each other in all matters.
Dear Prime Minister, I warmly welcome you again. Welcome to Azerbaijan!