Gerb

15 september 2010, 21:25
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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!

Dear participants and journalists!

ladies and gentlemen!

Today we are reaching our goal and even a summit in Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation which Azerbaijani President, the late Heydar Aliyev described as “one nation, two states”. We are writing a new page in our history.

The wise remark by esteemed Aliyev has acquired a new meaning thanks to the Declaration on high-level strategic partnership we have just signed with my dear brother Ilham Aliyev. I want to emphasize that I consider the Council on high-level strategic partnership a fundamental piece of work serving the strengthening of this friendship and bequeathing it to future generations. Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation is based not only on strong solidarity between our states, but also on common history and unity of our hearts. Turkish and Azerbaijani people speak the same language, have common history. Turkey and Azerbaijan have established the goal of building peace, stability and prosperity on a common geographical area.

Our relations built on this sound foundation and strengthening on the basis of the “one nation, two states” principle have reached the present perfect level as a result of development in political and economic spheres. I am sure that thanks to the Council we will pass Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship and unshakable cooperation on to future generations.

Over a short period of time we have witnessed tangible benefits of a mechanism we established earlier with Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Russia and Greece for both bilateral and regional cooperation. It is beyond doubt that this mechanism will also contribute a lot to Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation. Thus, the sub-commissions established within the Council will ensure regular revision of our relations in all spheres, serve progress in different area and eliminate the drawbacks that have formed in the public opinion. The Council on high-level strategic partnership is also evidence of our determination to carry on the banner passed on to us by Ataturk, who said that “Azerbaijan’s joy is ours, Azerbaijan’s grief is ours too”, and Heydar Aliyev who has said the words “one nation, two states”.

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.

As I mentioned earlier, Turkey and Azerbaijan are two fraternal countries bound together by bonds unseen elsewhere in the world. The Council on high-level strategic partnership will become fundamental work strengthening this fraternity. With these expectations I would like to wish the Turkish-Azerbaijani Council on high-level strategic partnership every success in developing our bilateral relations and regional cooperation, and reaffirm my highest consideration.

Х Х Х

Statement by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear Prime Minister!

My dear brother!

It is a truly historic day today and I am very glad that we are together on this day. I am very pleased to be visiting fraternal Turkey again. I am sure that the historic document signed today will contribute to further development of relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

You have mentioned that our peoples have had friendly and brotherly relations for centuries. Today these relations are being filled with a new content, being elevated to a new level. In essence, these ties are the foundation of relations between our countries. We are building these relations on a solid foundation. Since Azerbaijan regained its state independence, our relations with Turkey have always been developing and strengthening. Today these relations have reached the level of alliance.

We remember very well that Turkey was the first country to recognize our independence. Since the very beginning, from the first day of our independence, Turkey has always been with us. Today we successfully cooperate in different spheres. This cooperation is rapidly developing. The document signed today has tremendous importance for the development and expansion of this cooperation.

Today you recalled remarks by the great son of the Azerbaijani people, my father Heydar Aliyev. This is very valuable for us. I am very glad that his words and work are still remembered in Turkey, a country he loved with all his heart. I am sure that his spirit is here with us today.

We are also paying tribute to the great son of the Turkic world, outstanding leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who will always live in the hearts of Azerbaijani people. His words are a bright road for our relations. Therefore, our relations are being built on a solid foundation, and I am sure that the present and future generations will further strengthen this friendship and brotherhood. We must enable future generations to hold this banner high too. Our friendship, our fraternity are above all, they are and will be eternal.

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.

It is a legal but at the same time a very sincere document. It is not just an agreement between two countries. This is a document binding hearts, peoples together and expressing our kind intentions. This work will live on and make us richer and happier. Thank you.

Х Х Х

Then President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan answered questions from journalists.

Х Х Х

- 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?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Of course, the current meeting of Turkic countries is a continuation of many years of activities. This year we have met again and, Inshallah, we will show determination to strengthen this tradition and carry it into the future. We will try to continue it with our work aimed into the future, namely by further developing relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey. As you know, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are also taking part in this event. We want to take this work to future generations in another form, bring the Turkic language to a level allowing us to speak to each other in it. I like to talk openly. By speaking Turkic to each other, not any other language, we can do this work. We are waiting for this, we want this. A little earlier, my brother Ilham and I spoke about that, we said we must do this. I want us to implement this all.

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.

- I would like to go back to the topic regarding Azerbaijan. When will you share with us the good news on the cancelation of visas? Every time you meet we look forward to some news about that. But the issue is still on the agenda. Does it have to do with domestic processes in Azerbaijan and can we assume that the agreement will table the issue again?

Ilham Aliyev: There are continuous consultations about this issue. I am sure they will be productive. I expressed my opinion about this last time and said the issue needs to pass certain procedures within Azerbaijan. Relevant agencies, ministries of Azerbaijan must resolve this issue between themselves. After completion of all preparatory work this issue will certainly emerge on the bilateral agenda and I am sure will be resolved.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: You already know that we have no problems. My brother, Inshallah, will resolve this issue shortly. Don’t worry.


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