Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening ceremony of the Star Oil Refinery

19 october 2018, 18:00

- Dear President of the Republic of Turkey, my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Dear friends!

It is a wonderful and remarkable day in the history of Turkish-Azerbaijani fraternal relations. We are gathered for the opening of Star Refinery. I remember my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan and I laying the foundation of Star in Aliaga seven years ago. And today we are celebrating the opening of this gigantic project together. This shows again that we are successfully achieving all the goals we set for ourselves. This shows again that the leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan have a strong political will to implement such gigantic projects. The main reason for the implementation of this project is Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship and fraternity.

I am very glad to be visiting fraternal Turkish land again. I must say that this is already my third visit to Turkey this year. My dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan has visited Azerbaijan twice this year. The number of these visits is in itself an indicator that Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are at the highest level today. And this is natural, because we have lived together for centuries and have always been together. Some moments in history separated us, but that was only temporary. We were together a hundred years ago, before that and we are together today.

I should note that my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan and I attended the grand military parade held in Baku on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic last month. In that military parade, Turkish and Azerbaijani soldiers valiantly marched along the largest square of Baku, Azadlig Square, shoulder to shoulder. 15 September 1918 is a historic date. It was on that day that the city of Baku was liberated from occupation by the Caucasian Islamic Army under the command of Nuri Pasha and the newly-created Azerbaijani National Army.

The establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was a historic event, because a Republic was created for the first time in the Muslim world. But Baku, our ancient historical city, was under occupation. The newly-established government operated from the city of Ganja. As a result of the magnificent campaign of the Caucasian Islamic Army under the command of Nuri Pasha and its military victory, Baku was freed from occupiers and returned to its master, the Azerbaijani people. A few days later, Baku was declared the capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. This is unforgettable history, and the grand ceremony organized in Baku with the participation of the presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan a hundred years later demonstrated our unity once again. It showed that our unity was indestructible and eternal. We were together a hundred years ago and we are together today.

I should also note that we celebrated the 27th anniversary of the restoration of our independence in Azerbaijan yesterday. Turkey was the first country to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan. This is a glorious history. Ever since that day, we have always been together. Our political relations have risen to the highest peak. We have done a great job in the economic field. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan are rapidly developing countries from an economic point of view. Taking this opportunity, I want to sincerely congratulate the fraternal Turkish people on all the successes achieved under the leadership of my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Thanks to the leadership of President Erdogan, Turkey has become a great force on a global scale. Turkey enjoys authority all over the world. Turkey is reckoned with in the region and in the world, its position often plays the key role. This makes us very happy, because the strength of Turkey means our own strength. The stronger Turkey, the stronger we are. Our strength is in our unity. Today, Azerbaijan and Turkey are setting an example of fraternity and solidarity on a global scale. I do not know of any other countries in the world that would be as attached to each other as Turkey and Azerbaijan. This is our great treasure. It is on the basis of these friendly and fraternal feelings that we are implementing huge projects.

Azerbaijan has invested $6.3 billion in the establishment of Star Refinery. At the next stage, an additional $700 million will be invested. This is our largest investment abroad, and this is natural. At the same time, we have implemented other important projects together. The creation of oil and gas pipelines Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and TANAP, the Southern Gas Corridor, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway – each of these is a huge project of great importance not only for our countries and peoples but also for the region, for the world, for Eurasia. Turkey and Azerbaijan jointly demonstrate a strong political will, redraw the energy and transport map of Eurasia. We are doing this, and it is our signatures that are under the new maps. We have done it all together. All these projects require major financial investments. It has already been noted here that we have invested heavily in the economies of the fraternal countries. The investments in Aliaga alone amount to about $10 billion, and this figure will further increase in the future.

In short, the opening of Star Refinery is an example of our unity, solidarity and friendship. I am sure that Turkey and Azerbaijan will continue to go only along the path of success.

Taking this opportunity, I want to wish the brotherly Turkish people continuous progress and prosperity. Thank you.