Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a joint press conference
04 april 2014, 18:30
After the enlarged meeting, President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a joint press conference.
Initially, President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made statements to the press.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr Prime Minister, dear brother.
First of all, my dear brother, I once again warmly welcome you in Azerbaijan. Welcome to Azerbaijan. This is your first visit after the municipal elections. We are very pleased that your first visit is to Azerbaijan. I also remember that I paid my first foreign visit after the presidential election last year to fraternal Turkey. This tradition lives, will live and shows the high level of Turkish-Azerbaijani relations again.
Taking this opportunity, I sincerely congratulate your party on its big victory in the municipal elections. This victory is another high evaluation of your work by the Turkish people. Under your leadership, Turkey has gone a long and glorious way in recent years. The economic, political and industrial potential of Turkey has grown considerably. Today, Turkey is a member of G20. The financial and economic crisis that gripped the world a few years ago has had no effect on Turkey, because Turkey has a leader like you. There is a wise leader who loves and is attached to his people, and he leads Turkey on this way.
We perceive Turkey's successes as own successes. We are proud of all successes and are very pleased that today Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are experiencing a period of dynamic development. We, as friends and brothers, are working together in all areas. The talks and conversations we conducted during today's visit reaffirm our unity. We are allies in the political sphere. Today in the world there are no other countries that are as close to each other as Turkey and Azerbaijan. We implement major projects in the economic sphere. Mutual investments are being made successfully, and Azerbaijani investments are being made in Turkey and Turkish in Azerbaijan. This process continues successfully. In the next 7-8 years, about 20 billion dollars of Azerbaijani investments will be made in the Turkish economy. This is the largest investment we have made abroad.
There are energy projects that connect us. We are implementing these projects together. Turkey and Azerbaijan are demonstrating their leading role in the implementation of these projects. These projects have already gone beyond the regional framework and become worldwide projects. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and TANAP projects have changed the world's energy map.
Joint activities are being carried out in other areas. The transport and energy corridors that bind us together will greatly benefit our people and neighbours.
At the same time, today we had an exchange of views on cooperation in the military sphere. In this area, there are also very good opportunities, prospects and results. Naturally, today we discussed the issue of settling the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We are grateful to the Turkish government for its constant attention to us and for always supporting us in the right cause of Azerbaijan. As you know, the internationally-recognized territorial integrity of our country has been broken by Armenia for many years, and our lands are under occupation. This occupation and injustice are continuing. This must end. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be restored and our compatriots affected by the occupation must return to their native land. I am sure that it will be so. To do this, we must and will become even stronger.
In short, today's visit is another excellent step for the development of our bilateral relations.
I am very glad to meet with my friend and brother again. Once again I wish you and the Turkish people happiness and new successes. Welcome once again.
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Statement by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
- Thank you, Mr President, distinguished representatives of the media, ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, I express my satisfaction that after the 30 March municipal elections, I traditionally pay my first visit to Azerbaijan. We paid this visit with our friends - ministers and deputies, and today we had the opportunity to discuss bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey and regional issues. As a result of these very meaningful discussions, the foundation of the future views of the two countries, the foreign trade turnover of which is approaching 15 billion dollars, are getting stronger day by day. As Mr President noted earlier, the goals of Azerbaijani investments in Turkey are really huge. The most significant among them is, of course, the TANAP project. In connection with the work that began on the design of this project, a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers was adopted. In the coming months, God willing, steps will be taken, and I believe that when we achieve our goals related to TANAP in 2018, this international project will strengthen our brotherhood by many times.
Along with this, as Mr President noted, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad and the Shah Deniz-Erzurum project - all these are really the most important investments that show how strong the bonds between Azerbaijan and Turkey are.
Unity and solidarity between us in the political, military, cultural, economic and trade fields - in all these fields - are a perfect example showing the high level of our brotherhood. I believe that in the future we will be making very serious investments together. In particular, the investments, which we are making and will be making in the gas sector, the process that began earlier in Petkim in this regard and new investments in Petkim reflect the importance of these steps.
Our solidarity and our brotherhood will continue thereafter with the same determination. The parties have no concern on this issue. At the one-on-one meeting, we had the opportunity to discuss it. At the meeting with the participation of delegations, we also had the opportunity to appreciate it.
Our ministers discussed among themselves what they can do together in areas like energy and defence industries. If you noticed, recently the number of high-level visits between Turkey and Azerbaijan has begun to grow. The number of meetings between the presidents, the prime ministers and ministers continues to grow every day. All this will certainly continue in the future. We, as always, are decisive in this matter.
Of course, today we had the opportunity to discuss the Karabakh issue once again. We discussed it again. We will continue to demonstrate the same strong position on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue as we have done so far. Concessions here cannot be a subject of discussion. Once again, I want those who watch us sitting in front of TV screens to know about it. I am saying this from this point of view.
I express my deep appreciation for the hospitality extended to us, in particular to representatives of the media. Thank you.
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Then they answered questions from reporters.
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A leading correspondent of Al Jazeera Turk TV, Didem Ozel Tumer: Mr Prime Minister, earlier it was stated that the TANAP groundbreaking ceremony would take place in 2014. Were you able to determine any date at this meeting? Another question for you: Did you have any wish to Mr Aliyev in connection with the activities of Turkish schools in Azerbaijan known as "jamaat schools"?
Mr Aliyev, what you think about these schools? In addition, in connection with the activities of the "Gulen jamaat" in Azerbaijan, the Turkish press reported dismissals of some senior bureaucrats. What do you think about the activities of the "jamaat"?
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: First of all, the most important reason for my visit here is that according to tradition, after each election we pay our first visit to Azerbaijan. Our current visit is a step taken by us in accordance with tradition. We discussed our bilateral relations. Of course, if there are some difficulties in our countries and these difficulties really worry our country, we separately discuss them together.
Regarding the issue of TANAP, the process of registration has now started by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers. If we can complete this process, we will be able to lay the foundation of the pipeline before the end of this year. We do not worry about this issue. Our main goal is to ensure that bulldozers start working after a while and the TANAP route is laid in a short time. Naturally, all this exists in the form of projects and plans. But as soon as pipes begin to be laid, the whole world will have to watch this. Thank you.
President Ilham Aliyev: I would like to say a few words about the TANAP project. It is our joint project. Turkey and Azerbaijan are the authors and leaders of the project. The will and determination of the Turkish and Azerbaijani leadership played the biggest role in the implementation of this project. As a result of this project, our countries will be even more closely related to each other, and our economic and political opportunities will increase considerably. We will try to implement this project in a timely manner. In any case, according to the information provided to us, everything is going according to schedule. I hope that in 2018, I will be celebrating the opening of this project together with my dear brother.
As for the other part of the question, as my dear brother said, our meetings are traditional. We meet several times a year. We last met four months ago, and we are meeting now. Our meeting could take place next month. We will be meeting in June. This is natural. We are allies, we are friends and we are brothers. Conversations between us, of course, cover a very broad scope. There is no issue that we have not discussed frankly, like friends and brothers. The main thing is that here the Turkish and Azerbaijani parties are like-minded like in all other areas. We do not accept, do not allow and will not allow any step that could cause even the slightest damage to our relations. We are friends and brothers, the leaders are brothers and the peoples are brothers. So it should be. For our future successful development and for strengthening our position in the world, Turkish-Azerbaijani unity will continue to go on and must go on. It is an order generated by the people's will and the belief of the leaderships of Turkey and Azerbaijan. We are always close to each other, we will protect each other and we should always be together - both on good and not so good days. Brothers should be like that, we are such brothers.
A correspondent of Azerbaijani Public Television, Mehriban Mammadova: Mr Prime Minister, in some countries the media are talking about the connection of your party with Nurists. Currently there is a struggle against trends of Nurism in Turkey. I would like to know your attitude to this situation. Thank you very much.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan: It seemed very strange to me. We, of course, have no such links. Our only connection is with the nation. Since we have a very good connection with the nation, we gained 46 per cent of the vote. As you know, this election, as they say, became a justification of trust and we managed to do it. We will not tolerate any discrimination among our people. We are absolutely against discrimination. Look, we are now the only party whose members were elected as chairmen of municipalities, we can say, in all provinces of Turkey. Along with this, we have seven regions, and in six of these seven regions, we are the first party, and in the other, we have equal positions. We also have this feature.
Where does it come from? We cover the whole nation. Others cannot cover it. Some demonstrate racism and others - regionalism. We do not have this. We are a party of 77 million. We are a party of 780 thousand square kilometers. I always say: We have four basic principles - one nation, one flag, one motherland and one state. This reinforces our people's positive attitude towards us. Thank you.