Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a joint press conference

27 july 2011, 20:10

Following the extended meeting, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a joint press conference.

President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made press statements and responded to the questions of journalists.

Statement by President Ilham Aliyev

Dear Prime Minister, my dear brother!

Let me warmly welcome you to Azerbaijan again. I would like to congratulate you again on the comprehensive victory of the party you are leading in the parliamentary election. I am very pleased that you are paying a visit to Azerbaijan, your own home country, a month after the election.

Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are now at the highest level. These ties are of strategic nature and are based on the principles of friendship and brotherhood. We share both historical roots and cultural ties, our past and present political interests. We are very pleased that Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are developing rapidly, and the talks and discussions we have carried out during Prime Minister’s visit show again how close we are to each other.

Today we have discussed practically all the issues on our agenda, had an extensive exchange of views. We reiterate that political relations are at the highest level, at the very top. There are excellent prospects in the economic sphere. I am very pleased that trade between our countries has increased this year. There are new plans and proposals. We are considering investment proposals. Turkish companies are investing in Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani companies are investing in Turkey. Azerbaijani companies have invested over $4 billion in the Turkish economy to date. An additional $6 billion is to be invested in the petrochemical industry alone in the coming years. Turkish companies are taking an active part in the strategic infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan, and we are very pleased with their work.

We have also discussed regional issues, issues of regional security. I have reiterated for the distinguished Prime Minister Azerbaijan's position on ways of resolving the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and provided information about the current state of negotiations. I want to say again that the Azerbaijani people and state are very grateful to Turkey for its position on the issue. This is a truly friendly and brotherly attitude. We appreciate it.

As you know, our lands have been under occupation for many years. As a result of this occupation, more than a million Azerbaijanis were driven out of their native homes and became refugees and IDPs. We have been subjected to the policy of ethnic cleansing. Armenians have perpetrated a genocide against Azerbaijanis. They have committed the Khojali genocide. Azerbaijan's territorial integrity is recognized by the international community, Nagorno-Karabakh is native and historical part of Azerbaijan. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be restored. Key international organizations have expressed their position on the issue. There are four UN Security Council resolutions. The fair decisions and resolutions of the OSCE, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Islamic Conference provide the framework for resolving the issue.

At the same time, we have held an exchange of views on strengthening security in the region. We talked about the prospects for Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation in this field. I would like to take this opportunity to express condolences to the Turkish people over the deaths of our brothers in the bloody acts of terror recently. We strongly condemn the acts of the PKK terrorist organization and have repeatedly stated our position on the issue. I want to repeat that Baku views the PKK as a terrorist organization and always stands by the Turkish state and people in the fight against it. We strongly condemn all forms of terrorism and are absolutely convinced that the fight against terrorism can only be effective if all states join their efforts. And our cooperation with Turkey in combating terrorism, as in all other areas, is at a very high level.

We have certainly touched upon energy issues. As you know, these relations have a long history. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline are functioning successfully. We have exchanged views on future prospects. These are important issues for both Turkey and Azerbaijan. They bind our countries closer together. I am sure that our further cooperation will also be successful.

Transport issues also hold an important part in the relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan. The construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is successfully under way. I want to indicate that Azerbaijan has provided Georgia with a loan of almost $800 million, so that the issue is resolved soon and the railway is commissioned before the end of next year.
I want to reiterate that cooperation between us is at a high level in all the spheres. We do hope that this rate of development is maintained in the future too and Turkish-Azerbaijani relations of friendship and brotherhood continue to develop.

Thank you.

Statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Dear Mr. President, my dear brother Aliyev,

Dear representatives of the media!

First of all, I would like to heartily salute you at this interesting meeting.

As you know, we held a parliamentary election on 12 June 2011. Traditionally, those who come to power in the Republic of Turkey after an election pay their first visit either to Azerbaijan or the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This is our tradition.

Since the 37th anniversary of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which we have been celebrating since 1974 fell on 20 July this year, we paid our first visit there. And our second foreign visit has been to Azerbaijan.

In a face-to-face meeting with my dear brother we had the opportunity to examine our bilateral ties and regional issues. In particular, we discussed energy issues which form a major item of our agenda. But, of course, most importantly, we had the opportunity to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh issue again. Our position and thoughts on Nagorno-Karabakh are as follows: the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is a bleeding wound for Azerbaijan and for us alike. This should be clear. We cannot have another opinion. We monitor this issue and will continue monitoring it until the end.

Of course, we have discussed all the spheres today – military, political, economic, commercial and cultural. We feel at home here, like we do at home. This is how we see it. Our next steps will include, in particular, a meeting of the Supreme Council on Strategic Partnership between Turkey and Azerbaijan, which we very much look forward to. After meeting with each other, our foreign ministers will make a first step, and we, Insha'Allah, will have a large-scale meeting.

In 2010, our trade amounted to approximately $2.5 billion. In the first five months of this year the figure reached $1.4 billion. At this rate, we, Insha'Allah, can reach $3 billion by the end of the year.

Along with all this, the gas pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline are of great importance to Turkish-Azerbaijani relations. I think that the steps to be taken in connection with Shah Deniz-2 will be of strategic nature for the two brotherly countries. Agreement between my brother and myself on this issue is obvious. We have had discussions, and our energy ministers will continue their work.

In addition to this, as Mr. President has said, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is of great importance. It is to be extended. This is the first phase of our work, we have set out the task of extending it further to Central Asia. Such a goal, such a large project and its implementation at such a reassuring pace strategically bind us together. I find it necessary to emphasize that.

On behalf of our people I would like to thank my dear brother for the thoughts regarding our martyrs and the PKK terrorist organization. This, of course, is a wonderful manifestation of our brotherhood and unity. No-one should doubt that. Fight against terror should be waged not in one country but around the world, it must be collective. It is necessary to create a platform for the joint struggle.

In recent days we have witnessed the events in Norway. It would be wrong to assess one man’s attempt on the lives of 93 people as mere madness or a commonplace event. Those who have been speaking about Islamophobia for years and do not pay any attention to it are still unable to say what they should about the events. No matter how much they may want to conceal the issue, this shows that what happened is an answer to their obtuseness. Our girl may have died there. I spoke with her parents yesterday, they are not losing hope and are still waiting for their daughter. We also hope that she, Insha'Allah, did not die and will be reunited with her parents, with her people. But if she died, I am asking Allah to rest her soul.

All this shows that we should oppose such events taking place in the world together. I do believe that Turkey's difficulties in this regard are the difficulties of Azerbaijan. If Azerbaijan faces difficulties associated with terror, they will be ours too. By holding hands, we, Insha'Allah, will overcome this phase.

The investment of our entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan is very gratifying indeed. The thoughts of the esteemed President about this, of course, reflect these processes better. And we are very pleased about that.

I think that today’s visit has been very fruitful. The meetings between our delegations have also been effective. I believe that the forthcoming stage will also be very effective.

I would like to thank all media representatives, my friends.

Х Х Х 

Prime Minister, what is your assessment of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s recent saying that, “We have captured Nagorno-Karabakh, let the new generation capture Agri Dagi”? Also, can we expect the new Turkish government to be active in the policy as regards Armenia?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Dear friends, I made a statement on this issue yesterday too. There is also a very harsh statement from our Foreign Ministry in this regard. I will make another statement in Azerbaijan today following your question. This is not the right style of expression, the right approach of a statesman or president.

A statesman ought not to inculcate enmity and hatred to future generations. What Serzh Sargsyan has done represents incitement, an attempt to instill a feeling of anger and hatred in his young people. What will the future of young Armenian people be in this case? If things go on in the same manner, it will be dim, they will always look at these events through dark glasses. They must know about it by all means. At present, the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is occupied, and the occupiers are known to all. This is evidenced not only by us, but also by the United Nations. This has been proved. This issue must be resolved. So far, the Armenian side has demonstrated a negative approach to its solution. Azerbaijan has always demonstrated a positive approach. “Now you have got Nagorno-Karabakh from us. We will die, so you capture Agri?”. Is this the right logic? What kind of a concept is this? How can one give young people such a direction, delineate such horizons?

What does this mean? “Hey, young people, Armenia can now go to war with Turkey in any form”. We are rejecting all this. There can’t be such a statesman, such diplomacy. Sargsyan has committed a grave mistake here. And he has confirmed the historical mistake. He should apologize, rectify his mistake. 

Ilham Aliyev: I want to add. As a matter of fact, I did not expect anything else from Sargsyan because I have repeatedly met with him. 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: I do not know him as well as you do. 

Ilham Aliyev: I am well aware of his way of thinking. In essence, this exposes the aggressive essence of Armenia. This country is gripped by problems. Tens of thousands of people are leaving the country. The country's economy is in a complete crisis – there is poverty, destitution, hopelessness. There is not a single normal enterprise. If there are no foreign donations and foreign benefactors, this country will die. Although the actual population is 1.8 million people, these people lay claims on ancestral and historical lands of Turkey.

They think they resolved the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They are wrong. Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijani land and will remain as such. There will come a time when Azerbaijan will restore its sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh through peaceful or military means.

But making territorial claims against a country as great as Turkey? This simply shows that something is missing in the minds of these people. They do not live in a real world, they in a world of dreams they have created themselves. They need to wake up, return to the real world and just compare themselves with Turkey. You cannot compare an elephant with an ant.