Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the 6th Summit of Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States
03 september 2018, 09:15
Dear Sooronbai Sharipovich,
Distinguished heads of state and government,
First of all, Sooronbai Sharipovich, let me express my deep gratitude to you for the hospitality and for the high-level organization of the summit. I am very pleased to be visiting the brotherly Kyrgyz land. At the same time, I would like to express my gratitude to the Kazakh side, which successfully presides over the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States. Azerbaijan maintains close ties with all Turkic-speaking countries. These ties are becoming stronger and expanding day by day. Our relations cover political, economic, commercial, transport and humanitarian spheres, and we are observing excellent results in all directions. Our countries also support each other in international organizations, and this support is very important. I believe that additional steps will be taken in connection with our activities within the framework of international organizations in the coming years.
Issues of regional security are of particular importance because new risks, threats, hotbeds of conflict and wars are emerging in the present-day world. Azerbaijan has been suffering from Armenian occupation many years. For more than 20 years, Nagorno-Karabakh, which is recognized by the international community as an integral part of Azerbaijan, as well as seven adjacent districts, have been under Armenian occupation. As a result of this occupation, about 20 per cent of our land is occupied by Armenia. More than a million Azerbaijanis have found themselves in the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons on their native land. A policy of ethnic cleansing has been carried out against our people. War crimes and the Khojaly genocide have been perpetrated. More than 10 countries of the world officially recognize the Khojaly carnage as an act of genocide. On just one night, more than 600 innocent people, including more than 100 women and over 60 children, were brutally killed by the Armenians. More than a thousand people went missing. Nothing is known about their fate. Armenia has destroyed all our historical and religious monuments on the occupied lands. The mosques, graves of our ancestors and material resources have been plundered by Armenia. This is a war crime, and the perpetrators of this crime must be and are being held accountable. It is no coincidence that the criminal regime which ruled Armenia for more than 20 years has collapsed, and the Armenian people today are saying what we have been saying all along. We do hope that the new leaders of Armenia take a constructive position in connection with the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, our lands are soon liberated from occupation, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is restored, and peace and cooperation are established in the region.
I must also note that all international organizations recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The UN Security Council, the world’s highest body, has adopted four resolutions in connection with the conflict. These resolutions contain explicit provisions regarding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the territories of Azerbaijan. Of course, the conflict must be resolved on the basis of these principles. Other international organizations, including the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, have adopted similar decisions and resolutions. This is the legal framework for resolving the conflict.
The topic of today's summit is sports. I would like to share my thoughts on this. Azerbaijan attaches great importance to sports. The development of sports is a state policy in Azerbaijan. Our country has hosted several prestigious international competitions. Among them I want to highlight the First European Games. Unlike other continental games, European games had never been held before. The Games were held in Baku for the first time three years ago. These Games were joined by more than 5,000 athletes representing all European countries. Azerbaijan showed great results in the Games and finished in second place among teams. Two years later, in 2017, the Fourth Games of Islamic Solidarity were organized in Baku. Azerbaijani athletes finished the Games in first place. The fact that both European and Islamic games were held in one city in a matter of two years was further evidence of Azerbaijan's contribution to interethnic and interreligious multiculturalism. Azerbaijani athletes are showing good results in Olympic Games as well. In the latest Summer Olympic Games, Azerbaijan finished in 14th place in terms of the number of medals, and this is a historic achievement for our country.
Sport unites peoples and nations. I am sure that the development of sport will contribute to the overall development of our countries and also further strengthen our cooperation.
As for humanitarian issues, I would like, in particular, to appreciate the activities of TURKSOY and the Fund for Turkic Culture and Heritage. Azerbaijan takes an active part in both organizations.
I would like to draw your attention to economic cooperation. We should deepen economic cooperation, especially in the current conditions. In particular, it is necessary to take additional steps to increase the turnover between our countries, and I think that investment projects play a special role in that. New mechanisms must be developed to encourage mutual investment.
Azerbaijan invests heavily in fraternal countries, first of all, in Turkey. In recent years, a total of 14 billion dollars have been invested in Turkey's economy and Turkey has invested about as much in Azerbaijan. The volume of our investments in Turkey will reach 20 billion dollars in the coming years. This reflects our friendship and brotherhood, and also demonstrates the large economic potential of Turkey. Under the leadership of my dear brother, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has become a great force on a global scale, one of the leading countries of G20. We are very pleased that Turkey is overcoming all the ordeals, including economic ones, with dignity. We always stand by each other and the best indicator of that, I repeat, is our mutual investment. There is a very favorable investment climate in Turkey, there are excellent business conditions, and we will continue to invest in this fraternal country.
In general, by investing in fraternal countries, we are also securing our economic interests and creating new opportunities in these countries. Azerbaijan has also done its best to accept investments from fraternal countries. Azerbaijan also has a wonderful investment climate, and mutual investment will further strengthen our unity, especially if we consider that such an immense infrastructure project as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has been in operation since October last year. This line connects Asia with Europe, so the volume of freight traffic is growing and should continue to grow. This is a new transport corridor, a new transport artery. By implementing this project together with fraternal and neighboring countries, Azerbaijan is redrawing the transport map of Eurasia. Considering the fact that this is a very favorable route from the transport point of view, I am urging all friendly countries to take advantage of this railway, including European countries, Hungary, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan, Turkey and Azerbaijan are already using this railway.
In short, dear friends, I believe that today's Summit is very important and will lead to excellent results. The main result is that our friendship and brotherhood will be strengthened even more.