After the signing ceremony, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made statements for the press.
Statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
- My dear brother, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev!
Dear participants, dear journalists!
Ladies and gentlemen!
Let me warmly salute and welcome you all!
Azerbaijan and Turkey are two countries linked with each other through strong fraternal and family bonds.
As the late President Heydar Aliyev used to say, may his soul rest in peace, we, Turkey and Azerbaijan, see each other as “one nation in two states” and are developing in this manner.
The agreements we have just signed will make our relationship strategic and worthy of the features of our sister countries, and will raise our relations to the highest level. Along with the deep kinship and neighborly relations which we constantly develop, we have relations in the energy sector with Azerbaijan, which are of strategic importance.
As part of our energy cooperation, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline projects have been successfully implemented and asserted themselves on the global scale. These two historic project bind us together. In this sense, I want to emphasize the following: we actively support the Southern Gas Corridor project on the transportation of natural gas of the Caspian Basin and Central Asia to Europe via alternative routes through our country – both to ensure our own energy security and to contribute to the energy security of Europe. In this regard, we also attach great importance to diversifying sources and routes, which is one of the main components of our energy strategy.
The implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project is important in terms of a reliable supply of Azerbaijan’s energy to Europe. As a result of our discussions last year, we signed an intergovernmental agreement with our Azerbaijani brothers on 25 October 2011 and on 24 December 2011 a preliminary agreement on the sale of 6 billion cubic meters and transit of 10 billion natural gas to be produced under Shah Deniz-2 project to Europe via Turkey.
Today we took another historic step – we have signed “The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline”, the so-called TANAP, and “The Host Government Agreement”. TANAP is a very important project of historic significance. It will enable the transit of Azerbaijani gas to Europe via Turkey. So today we can see that the development of Turkish-Azerbaijani energy cooperation is of great importance in terms of energy security not only for our country but also for Europe. I want to stress that we are very pleased and proud to be with you on this historic day.
Dear friends, the agreements signed today are a major step towards finalizing the legal framework of the project. This agreement will not only deepen the strategic cooperation between our countries, it will also create a natural link between Azerbaijan and Europe via Turkey. By implementing the project, our countries will make a very valuable contribution to diversifying energy sources of the European Union and take on an important commitment on European energy security.
In other words, all the projects that form the East-West energy corridor are strategic moves aimed at strengthening security, peace and economic development in the region. Besides strengthening political and economic ties of regional countries, these projects also strengthen their relations with the West. So these projects go beyond just commercial investment frames.
The TANAP project will be operational with the start of gas production from Shah Deniz-2. But the main theme is the transit of natural gas to be produced from other Azerbaijani fields in the future. Besides, gas from the opposite Caspian coast will be transported through TANAP via Azerbaijani territory. We strongly believe that this project, which will require investments of billions of dollars, will make a great contribution to the welfare of regional nations and future generations.
We also believe that this project will further connect our destinies and strengthen the energy component of our relations which are already perfect in all areas.
With this belief I do hope that the agreements signed today will benefit us all. My greetings to all of you again.
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Statement by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Prime Minister, my dear brother!
Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear friends!
First of all, let me say that I am very glad to be on the brotherly Turkish soil. I am honored to be with you on this historic day.
I can say with great pride today that Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are at the highest peak. Last year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the restoration of our independence. Azerbaijan has been an independent state for 20 years. Over these 20 years Turkish-Azerbaijani relations have always been at a high level. These relations have become increasingly stronger and deeper. Underlying this relationship are affection, brotherhood and friendship between our peoples. The great son of the Turkic world, great leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk said, “Azerbaijan’s sorrow is ours, Azerbaijan’s joy is ours too.” These unforgettable historic words keep showing the way for both Turkey and Azerbaijan today.
I am very glad that we have seen only the happy days in recent years. Our joint initiatives and projects have united us and our people, brought about a new situation in the region.
Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherhood and friendship have made these projects a reality. Of course, each project has commercial, economic and technical issues. But if they were not built on a solid foundation, I am sure we would be unable to achieve this success in the energy and other fields. Our relations are multifaceted, they cover all areas. I do not know of any other two allies on the world’s political scene like Azerbaijan and Turkey. We work together on regional issues, always hold political consultations. Our economic cooperation plays an important role for the region.
Turkish-Azerbaijani unity is a factor that of stability in the region.
With regard to the energy issue, our joint major projects have added new shades to the world’s energy map. The region is impossible to imagine without the projects we are implementing together. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipelines largely changed the energy map of Europe in 2006 and in 2007. Today we are launching a new project, TANAP, which is historically important. I am sure TANAP will be as successful. As was the case with Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, TANAP will be implemented in time and with quality.
As you know, there have been negotiations and discussions in recent years on the transit of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, various events have been held. We saw that these discussions were incessant but there was no result. As always, after holding bilateral consultations, we decided that Turkey and Azerbaijan should take the lead in this matter and jointly implement the project. This project is entirely Turkish and Azerbaijani, which is confirmed by the documents signed today. We will implement it ourselves, using our own money and technical capabilities. As a result of the TANAP project, we will first of all transport even more natural gas to Turkey. At the same time, we will open up transit possibilities via Turkey. In the future this project will contribute a lot to European energy security. We have no disagreement on this issue.
As you know, after the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, Turkey began receiving gas from Azerbaijan. TANAP will enable the transit of large volumes of Azerbaijani gas to Turkey. We have huge reserves of gas.
Shah Deniz alone has gas reserves of 1.2 trillion cubic meters. Considering Azerbaijan’s other fields, our proven gas reserves constitute 2.6 trillion cubic meters. So I am sure that the project we are starting now will be securing our interests over decades to come, perhaps a hundred years. We will provide for energy security and also resolve issues of opening new markets for Azerbaijan.
Our energy cooperation is not limited to this project. Last year my dear brother Prime Minister and I laid the foundation of a large project in Petkim in Izmir.
The investment to be made in Petkim and TANAP projects will total $15-20 billion. Again, if our relations were not based on friendship and brotherhood, then, of course, there could be no talk of major investment. Going back to the main issue: underlying our work is the mutual affection of our peoples, our common interests and love of each other. I am sure that these projects will further strengthen our ties.
There are even larger projects in store. As for TANAP, I have no doubt that Turkey and Azerbaijan will take the lead and implement it in a timely manner, in five years. And we will be happy to conduct an opening ceremony of TANAP. Thank you.
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Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: On my own behalf and on behalf of my nation I would like to express our gratitude to my brother, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, for the sincere and valuable words about what our fraternal countries can do as one nation.
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Then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev answered journalists’ questions.
In reply to a question from a correspondent of the News Centre of the Turkish Show TV channel regarding prospects of the TANAP project, Prime Minister Erdogan said that initially it would be possible to purchase 6 billion and then 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The main goal is to bring this figure to 50 billion cubic meters, he said.
Asked about the developments in Syria, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his country's position on the current state of Syrian-Turkish relations.
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AzerTAg correspondent Aygun Aliyeva: My question is for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Azerbaijan is investing heavily in the Turkish economy. As noted, the groundbreaking ceremony for STAR oil refinery of Petkim was held last year. This project has already begun. How do you assess the prospects for cooperation in the field of investment?
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: I can say that the position of Azerbaijan, of my dear brother, particularly concerning Petkim is highly commendable. Petkim has become one of the most important investment projects. Of course, Azerbaijan did not limit itself to the first step.
After that, my brother Ilham and I flew in a helicopter over the town of Aliaga. Now, as a result of reconstruction and further investment, a completely different city is emerging there. Extensive measures are taken there – from a port to new refining enterprises. While taking these steps, it is important to note one more thing: just as Azerbaijani gas is used in Azerbaijan, it is used here. This raises another question. Look – Aliaga, Petkim, a refinery, ports, etc. All this, dear friends, is a fine manifestation that we are one nation.
But this is not all. I want to thank my brother Ilham for the construction of schools in various parts of our country. This contributes to the development of our education, which reinforces our fraternity.
President Ilham Aliyev: Dear brother, I want to thank you for your kind words. I want to indicate that Turkish-Azerbaijani relations stand out on a global scale. The basis of this relationship is, of course, the fact that we are one nation. You have recalled the words of the great son of the Azerbaijan people, my father Heydar Aliyev. Indeed, these historic words come from the heart. Most importantly, these words are the roadmap for us today. We want our cooperation to advance further. The projects we are implementing will strengthen our unity. Our unity is necessary for both our peoples and states and for the region. Today, the Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation and alliance is a reality, a great stabilizing factor in the region. Of course, we must strive to support each other in any field.
Turkey was the first country to recognize Azerbaijan's independence. It performed its fraternal duty and showed the way for other countries. The Azerbaijani people will never forget that. In the most difficult moments for us Turkey was beside us. Azerbaijan is also, as always, close to Turkey. This unity, this cooperation and this brotherhood keep flourishing and growing. Evidence of this is the TANAP project. There have been similar projects in the past and there will be more in the future. As for TANAP, we see it as a purely Turkish-Azerbaijani project. It is no coincidence that this project is implemented by Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has secured its own energy security. We have the sources and resources. We see Turkey's energy security as our own. And this is natural. We do not separate ourselves from you. Our interests, intentions and policies are common. Such projects further strengthen these ties. I described this date as historic for a reason. Today we are opening a new page in the great book of history, we are signing new pages so that Turkey and Azerbaijan, our peoples could benefit from this in the coming years and decades.
I thank you again for the hospitality, for your kind words about me and about our country. I want to note again that we must implement this project in five years. Let all the structures dealing with this project aim to achieve it and please us again five years later.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan: I am also very grateful to our friends who have put in their effort, our friends ministers, all our leader friends. We need to work hard to complete this job in less than five years.