Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the Seventh meeting of Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council

25 april 2018, 15:00

Thank you very much, my dear brother.

Dear Mr. President, dear friends!

First of all, I would like to thank you for the hospitality extended to me and the delegation.

I am very pleased to be visiting the fraternal country again. As you have noted, this is my first foreign visit after the presidential election. The first person to congratulate me on winning the election was my dear brother, President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This congratulation shows once again that Turkey and Azerbaijan are the closest countries and allies.

Two weeks ago, the presidential election was held in Azerbaijan. A week ago, there was an inauguration ceremony. Two days ago, the formation of our government was completed, and yesterday I was already in Ankara. I met with my dear brother yesterday. We discussed many issues. We continue these discussions in an expanded format today.

We have always been next to each other. It is the case today and will be the case tomorrow. Turkey has always supported Azerbaijan's fair position and has always been close to us in the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We, in turn, also stand by Turkey in all matters. As the distinguished President has said, the Azerbaijani state and people have always been close to Turkey in the fight against terror and in the Olive Branch operation. This is our brotherly duty. This mutual support and such a strong interaction strengthen our countries and create a new situation in the region. Today, Turkish-Azerbaijani relations have gone beyond the bilateral format, already represent regional importance and very successfully influence the processes occurring on a global scale. We always support each other in all international organizations. This will continue to be the case in the future.

Of course, we are united by history, culture, ethnic roots, religion. At the same time, we share common interests today. As the distinguished President has noted, the joint projects being implemented have already strengthened us and created a new situation in the world.

We will celebrate the opening of TANAP very soon. I remember the TANAP signing ceremony taking place in Istanbul four years ago. We are about to complete this historic project. At present, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is already in operation. We will try to ensure that the freight traffic is increased. Our interaction in the field of transport and energy creates a new situation in the region.

We are pleased with mutual investments. Turkey has made large investments in Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan has invested a lot in Turkey, which is further evidence of our friendship and brotherhood.

There is excellent cooperation in the fields of culture and education. Cooperation in the defense industry is deepening. Joint exercises are held. In today's meeting with the distinguished President, we paid special attention to this issue and decided to participate in both bilateral and multilateral exercises together.

We are using the products of Turkey’s defense industry. Turkey has created a very advanced defense industry. Azerbaijan is building up its military capacity too, including through the acquisition of weapons in Turkey.

In a word, our relations cover all areas and are becoming stronger by the day. I am convinced that my current visit and the meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council will breathe a new life into our relations, will give them a new impetus. Once again, I want to thank you for your hospitality and respect.