15 september 2010, 21:25
Declaration on the establishment of the Council on strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey has been signed
After a meeting between President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul, the ceremony of signing of the Joint Declaration on the establishment of the Council on high-level strategic cooperation between the Azerbaijan Republic and the Republic of Turkey was held.
The document was signed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After the signing ceremony, President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made statements and answered questions from journalists.
Statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
- Dear President, my dear brother Aliyev!
On this remarkable day I want to express special appreciation to my dear brother, President Ilham Aliyev, for cooperation in establishing the Council.
I am also grateful to our officials, ministers and government officers who have worked hard to prepare the agreement for signing in a short period of time.
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Statement by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Prime Minister!
Today’s ceremony is of great importance. In essence, the document signed today somewhat sums up the work done to this end and outlines ways for further development of our partnership. The establishment of the Council on high-level strategic partnership is not just an agreement. It will enable us to plan and coordinate our work in all spheres and achieve even greater results in all sectors. This agreement covers all spheres. Political relations which are at the highest level today, trade contacts, mutual investment, cooperation in the energy, oil and gas sectors, transport, railway projects, cultural and humanitarian fields – in other words, there is no sector that would remain uncovered by this agreement. It will enable us to achieve successful, dynamic and more organized progress of Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation, even greater unity and closer cooperation between our peoples.
On this historic day I would first of all like to thank my brother, dear Mr. Prime Minister, for his efforts and initiative that led to the signing of the agreement. I would also like to join the words of my dear brother and thank all our friends who worked on this document.
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Then President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan answered questions from journalists.
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- Mr. President, how can the Council on high-level strategic partnership assist in the settlement of Azerbaijan’s main problem – the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? What assistance does Azerbaijan expect from Turkic countries in general?
Ilham Aliyev: Of course, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is a permanent subject of talks between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Mr. Prime Minister and I have exchanged views on the issue today. As you may know, Turkey has always supported Azerbaijan’s fair cause and made great effort at all times for the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. The talks underway on the issue must yield a result. The result is that Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity recognized by the international community must be restored. Nagorno-Karabakh is native Azerbaijani land. Our people lived and worked on this territory for centuries. Azerbaijanis have now been ousted from this region. There is not a single Azerbaijani left in Nagorno-Karabakh and districts adjacent to it. All Azerbaijanis have been subjected to a policy of ethnic cleansing. Our historical and religious sites have been destroyed by the Armenians. This is a huge injustice. This runs counter to international law. Of course, this issue will continue to be high on the agenda of Turkish-Azerbaijani relations.
The strengthening of Turkey, its becoming a major state thanks to my dear friend and brother, Mr. Prime Minister, is making us stronger too. Present-day Turkey is not what it used to be 10 years ago. Turkey is a major and magnificent state. There is unity between people and authorities in Turkey, and these factors are having a positive impact on the region. It is impossible not to reckon with Turkey – neither in the region nor in the whole world. Turkey’s strength is ours too because we are brothers. This brotherhood is in our blood. This brotherhood is passed on from one generation to another, and I am sure that it will be eternal. Therefore, the strengthening of Turkey is a positive factor in itself for the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Turkish government is conducting a very active and flexible policy in this regard. I am sure that this policy will have positive results and Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity will be restored.
- Dear Prime Minister! What relations does the commonwealth of Turkic countries plan to establish with the Turks living on the territories of other countries? And my second question: Turkey plans to conduct a ceremony at the Armenian church Akdamar, while Armenia calls for boycotting it. What is your attitude to that?
As to the question about Akdamar, this, in essence, is the expression of our view. What is their attitude to us in their country and what is our attitude to them? At present, people of Armenian origin are living in our country. What is our attitude to their religious monuments? And what is their attitude to ours? There was nothing of the kind before our government. We have renovated this church for the first time. After renovation we have allowed for ceremonies to be held there once a year. The same holds true for the Sumela church in Trabzon. This is the expression of Turkic tolerance. We have the right to expect the same tolerance from representatives of other religions. We want them to be as tolerant to us, to treat us the same way. I think they will not remain indifferent to our work and I believe in this.
We have done our act of kindness and demonstrated tolerance in this issue. I do hope that they will understand that.
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