Shusha, June 15, AZERTAC
Following the ceremony of signing Shusha Declaration, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan have made press statements.
The head of state made the statement first.
Statement of President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. President, my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
Distinguished guests from Turkey,
Ladies and gentlemen!
It is a significant day in our lives today. It is a historic day. Today, we are welcoming the dear President of the brotherly country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the Karabakh land, to the land of Shusha. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome my dear brother to Shusha and Karabakh on behalf of all the people of Azerbaijan.
My dear brother has visited Azerbaijan a number of times, but we are together in the Karabakh land, in Shusha for the first time. This visit has a historic significance because the Joint Declaration, the Declaration on allied relations, signed today raises our relations to the highest peak. The name of the Declaration is the Declaration on allied relations, and this name in itself indicates everything, it says it all. Today we have established a qualitatively new relationship, and all the provisions of this Declaration are a guarantee of our future cooperation.
I have repeatedly said in press conferences and in my speeches that Turkey and Azerbaijan today are the closest countries in the world. There are many factors that bind us together. First of all, history, culture, common ethnic roots, language, religion, national values, national interests, brotherhood of our peoples. Today, we are setting a unique example of cooperation and alliance on a global scale.
The Declaration signed today is based on history. The Declaration reflects the words of the great leaders of our peoples – Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Heydar Aliyev. At the beginning of the 20th century, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk said, “Azerbaijan's joy is our joy and its sorrow is ours too.” At the end of the 20th century, Heydar Aliyev said, “Turkey and Azerbaijan are one nation in two states.” These historic words are the key factor for us, for our activities. We remain committed to this testament, demonstrate our commitment to our ancestors and guide future generations by signing the Declaration on allied relations in the city of Shusha, which was liberated in the 21st century.
The Joint Declaration refers to the historic Kars Agreement. The historic Kars agreement was signed exactly 100 years ago. This also has a great symbolic meaning. The Joint Declaration on allied relations signed in the liberated city of Shusha after 100 years shows the direction of our future cooperation.
The Declaration covers many important issues. At the international level, it dwells upon our cooperation, joint activities, political relations, economic and trade relations, culture, education, sports, youth policy and practically all other areas. It demonstrates the importance of energy security and the Southern Gas Corridor for Turkey, Azerbaijan and Europe. Every issue reflected in it is of great importance. I would like to highlight two issues among them. First, the issue of cooperation in the field of defense. The issues of defense industry and mutual military assistance are reflected in this Declaration. This is a historic achievement. We are showing again that we will always be together. We will continue to ensure each other's security, just as Turkey and Azerbaijan have been together on all issues so far. This will continue to be the case.
The second important issue is transport. The declaration contains very clear statements about the opening of the Zangazur corridor. This is the result of a new geopolitical situation that has emerged as a result of the second Karabakh war. Today, we are not only talking about the Zangazur corridor, which will connect Turkey and Azerbaijan by rail and road, we are creating this corridor through tangible work. It is important that this issue is reflected in the Joint Declaration on allied relations.
Today we are meeting in liberated Shusha. Today, the attention of the entire Azerbaijani people and indeed of the Turkish people too, I am sure, are here. The eyes of the world are here. Because this visit was eagerly anticipated in Azerbaijan. I know that it is of great interest. The statements made here in our ancient city of Shusha today will reverberate in the whole world. They will have great repercussions. The historic significance of this visit will be spoken about for many years to come.
The city of Shusha was liberated on 8 November last year. The liberation of Shusha required great heroism. Everyone who comes to Shusha and looks at these steep rocks can see that it takes great heroism, professionalism, courage and self-sacrifice to liberate this city, which is considered an impregnable fortress. Heroic Azerbaijani soldiers shed blood, became martyrs, climbed steep cliffs only with light weapons, liberated Shusha from the enemy and raised the Azerbaijani flag.
The Azerbaijani and Turkish flags waving in Shusha today show our unity. From the first days of the second Karabakh war, from the first hours, my dear brother, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed unequivocal, clear and open support for Azerbaijan. From the first hours of the war, he said that Azerbaijan was not alone. This both inspired us and, at the same time, stopped all the forces and circles that were going to intervene. He said that Turkey was with Azerbaijan, and from the first hours to the last minutes of the war, the support of my dear brother and the Turkish Republic, the brotherly Turkish people gave us additional strength. This political and moral support inspired us. Messages of congratulation, expressions of support and solidarity from all over Turkey once again demonstrated our unity to the whole world.
Today, the Turkish media are here in Shusha, and I want to emphasize their activities. They risked their lives to show the real situation at the most dangerous moments of the war and to convey it to the audience and the world. I personally often watched the reports on Turkish TV channels during the war and saw again that it was not only about professionalism, but also about solidarity and love. The true voice of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan’s just cause was conveyed to the world from the most dangerous places, from places where bombs were falling. The Turkish media immediately went there and prepared reports. They were well aware that since Armenia could not resist us on the battlefield, it fired on our civilians with long-range missiles, Tochka-U and Iskander M missiles, killing more than 100 civilians, including children and women. We saw the love, affection and solidarity of the entire Turkish people during the war again. We already knew that we are one nation in two states, as my late father said, but the war showed this to the whole world again, and we will never forget this support.
The second Karabakh war is now in the past. As a result of the 44-day war, the Armenian army was completely destroyed. Armenia was brought to its knees, waved the white flag, surrendered and was forced to sign an act of capitulation after the liberation of Shusha, after which our other districts were returned to us without a single shot being fired. The occupation, which lasted nearly 30 years, came to an end. Azerbaijan put an end to this with the support of brotherly Turkey. Thirty years of negotiations had yielded no results. This shows again that where there is a will, resolve, strength and justice, everything is possible. Of course, inspired by this support from an ally like Turkey in the second Karabakh war, Azerbaijan fulfilled its historic mission, restored justice and restored its territorial integrity.
A new era begins now. I met my dear brother in Fuzuli city today, met him there and showed him the ruined landscape of Fuzuli. There is no Fuzuli city. You have also been there and seen that there is not a single safe building. The hated enemy has destroyed all our buildings. Aghdam is in a similar situation. Our historical monuments have been destroyed, demolished and looted.
Notice what state the city of Shusha is in. Shusha is a historic city and not a single building has been built here in the 28 years of occupation. I showed this building to my dear brother. The building of Shusha governor's office was built during the time of my late father. The buildings in Shusha were built both during his time and during the reign of Panahali Khan and Ibrahimkhalil Khan. The loathsome enemy did not leave a single stone unturned. You can see the ruined places of Shusha. In fact, we have slightly refurbished some places here. When I first came here earlier this year, the city was completely devastated.
Shusha is a historical city of Azerbaijan because Panahali Khan laid the foundation of this city in 1752 and after that 98 percent of the population of Shusha were Azerbaijanis. Despite the 30 years of occupation, Shusha did not bend, was able to preserve its national spirit, dignity, and was waiting for us. And we came and liberated Shusha.
Today, the President of the brotherly country is our guest in the historic city, and it is impossible to express the feelings we have. I am sure that everyone who comes here feels the same, and we are grateful to the Almighty God for giving us the opportunity to experience these very emotional days.
My dear brother, we were looking forward to seeing you in Shusha. I invited you. In December last year, we, the Presidents of the two countries, agreed to hold our next military meeting here, and this is what happened. Welcome again, welcome to your homeland, welcome to Shusha!
Turkish-Azerbaijani unity and brotherhood are eternal!
X X X
Then the President of Turkey made a statement.
Statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
- Dear Mr. President, my dear brother,
Dear members of the delegation.
I greet you with the most sincere feelings and love.
Of course, we experience special excitement and feelings today. Praise be to the Almighty for the fact that we are keeping the word given earlier. It is good that as a result of the well-known 44-day war, Karabakh has returned to its real masters and got rid of Armenian oppression and occupation.
Unfortunately, the building we see in the background today is, in fact, evidence of what the Armenian oppression has turned these masterpieces into. My brother chose a very explicit location for the press conference as a background. On the one hand, the building of the executive authority and, on the other, unfortunately, the building the Armenians have razed to the ground, so to speak.
On 15 June, the Day of National Salvation of Azerbaijan, we honor the memory of national leader Heydar Aliyev. May his soul rest in peace.
As you know, together with my brother, Mr. Aliyev, we shared the joy of the Karabakh Victory by the Azerbaijani army in Baku on 10 December. On that day, there were completely different feelings, a completely different excitement. I am very pleased to be alongside him in the ancient city of Shusha six months later. It is good that we are keeping our promise.
Once again, I congratulate the Azerbaijani people on the Karabakh Victory. I am sure that the messages that we will send to our region and the whole world from Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan which has presented mankind with many artists, will be very important. We closely follow the work on the reconstruction of Karabakh, which has gained freedom under the visionary leadership of my brother Ilham Aliyev, the victorious Supreme Commander-in-Chief. On arrival in Shusha, both you and us saw this work. There is continuous work, hard work in the field of infrastructure. Roads and high-voltage power lines are being extended, power stations are being opened. Along with all this, this non-irrigated region is now provided with water. This work is currently ongoing. Inshallah, there will be airports in the region very soon. My dear brother specifically informed me about this during our one-on-one meeting. After the construction of airports, the number of visitors to these places will increase. I am sure that this region will achieve serious progress in terms of tourism during that period.
Of course, the former splendor and uniqueness will return to Karabakh. We have no doubt about that at all. In the near future, we will together see the days of the revival of such ancient settlements of Karabakh as Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Gubadli, Lachin, Shusha, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Khojavand.
Turkey provides and will continue to provide our brothers with all necessary support in the restoration work, just as we did during the liberation struggle. We will also make every effort to return our Azerbaijani brothers to their homes as soon as possible. Naturally, my esteemed brother is doing special work in this regard. The main thing is that the real owners of these places will return to their homes and regions. Providing them with both financial assistance and support related to jobs will allow our Azerbaijani brothers to return to their homes and to their lands, which will seriously enrich these places.
Of course, we will together take the necessary measures both to eliminate the consequences of the destruction and prevent such disasters in Karabakh and other Azerbaijani lands in the future.
Inshallah, together with our Housing Administration, we are planning on certain steps in this region. We will take these steps as a result of interaction of our Housing Administration with the relevant local authority.
We call on everyone who has influence in the region to see the realities, accept the Victory of the Azerbaijani people and look to the future. Following the ceasefire in the region, new opportunities for cooperation have emerged for all parties. We are direct witnesses of the keen interest of our Azerbaijani brothers in this issue.
Turkey also wants to channel its geographic ties into deep cooperation. We want Armenia to accept the hand of solidarity extended to it with good intentions and to take advantage of the opportunity to jointly shape a common future. We are talking about a six-sided platform. As you know, this platform includes Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Iran. Together with this six-party platform, we want calm and peace in the region. In order to take this step, my brother and I are committed to doing everything in our power. And so is Mr. Putin. Thanks to the steps taken in this direction, the region will turn into a region of peace.
We very much want this historic opportunity not to be wasted due to the intentions, expressions and activities that are not based on reality. The main condition is that everyone who wishes to benefit the new reality and abandon the policies of hatred and incitement be focused on promoting peace and cooperation. When creating such an environment, we also say at every opportunity that we will do everything possible to normalize relations with Armenia. We are confident that this encouraging process will be continued in a very healthy form if the ceasefire agreement signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia ends with a comprehensive and forward-looking peace treaty.
Dear representatives of the media and distinguished guests. At the meeting just held with my brother Aliyev, we had the opportunity to once again thoroughly examine our ties. In the coming months, we will host a high-level meeting of the Strategic Cooperation Council in Turkey. As you know, since 1 April 2021, travels between the two countries have been carried out on the basis of domestic passports only. This step will facilitate our mutual ties and bring us even closer together.
We have recently taken important steps in bilateral trade. On 1 March 2021, the Preferential Trade Agreement entered into force. Step by step, we are approaching the goal of bringing our turnover to $15 billion in 2023.
Many of our companies headed by “Türkiye Petrollari”, have made large investments in Azerbaijan. At the same time, we are pleased with the investments of Azerbaijani companies led by SOCAR in Turkey. My brother and I have e discussed the issue of investing not only in Turkey, but also, if necessary, SOCAR and “Türkiye Petrollari” investing in third countries. Inshallah, we are working and will continue to work on this.
In the coming period, we will further expand the scope of our trade and economic cooperation. Together with Azerbaijan, we have completed such giant projects as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars and TANAP. Along with our own countries, these projects contribute to the well-being and stability of the entire region. Since the completion of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, the TAP project, our country has been supplying Azerbaijan's natural gas passing through its territory to the European market.
Today, as my dear brother said, we have taken a new historic step that will contribute to the further development of ties built on the basis of “one nation in two states” concept. This is a very important step. We will further strengthen this and continue our path.
As my brother has just said, by signing the Shusha Declaration we have outlined a roadmap for our ties at a new stage. The Declaration, consisting of eleven A4 pages, is turning into reality in Shusha today. This is extremely important. The Declaration between Turkey and Azerbaijan covers a number of issues. As we take forward-looking steps, we see that this document expresses a determination that encompasses not only two countries, but also the entire region.
Inshallah, Turkey plans to open a consulate general in ancient Shusha in the near future. We will thus ensure the implementation of activities planned in the region in a faster and more efficient manner.
On the other hand, we consider very important and support the South Zangazur corridor project of Azerbaijan. With the implementation of this project, a new common corridor will be opened, which can be used by everyone from East to West. This is of great importance.
Despite the pandemic, we resolutely continue our joint efforts to promote cooperation in all areas from agriculture to energy, from transport to tourism, from defense to education. Naturally, along with all this, we are further strengthening our ties in the field of the defense industry using technological transfers and joint production projects. My brother has just presented the “Karabakh” Order to the General Director of “Bayrak”, Haluk bey. On behalf of our family, I would also like to express my special gratitude to him. Of course, unmanned aerial vehicles have done some serious work here. From now on, our ties in the field of the defense industry will be further developed. Along with this development, Azerbaijan will have the opportunity to become not only a market but also a production center in this process. Our strength is the strength of Azerbaijan and the strength of Azerbaijan is ours.
With these thoughts, let me express my gratitude to President Aliyev for the kind hospitality shown to me and my delegation. I do hope that the decisions made at our meeting will be implemented. Love and respect for all. Good luck to you!
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