Azerbaijan-Turkiye relations: road to new economic prospects in region
Azerbaijan-Turkiye relations have turned into a particular interstate example both politically and globally. This is also the selfless support of two states with the same language, religion, and roots. As a nation, they commonly fought shoulder to shoulder in Çanakkale in the fight for the homeland 108 years ago. In 2020, it was brotherly Turkiye that gave the biggest support to Azerbaijan in its more than three-decade -struggle to end the Armenian occupation.
By the way, Turkiye's support does not end only with the military alliance, the unshakable unity of the two brotherly states is showing its influence in the fight against the biased policy of the West in the ongoing processes related to Garabagh. 7 days ago, at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decisive speech supporting Azerbaijan's sovereign right over Garabagh and the opening of the Zangazur Corridor was one of the most historically important moments for Azerbaijan.
At the same time, President Ilham Aliyev highly appreciated the support given to Azerbaijan by Turkish President R.T. Erdogan during his speech at the UN General Assembly.
In general, whether Turkiye stood by Azerbaijan during the Patriotic War, or the Shusha Declaration, which was signed jointly after that and raised the relations between the two countries to a new level, were steps taken for greater prospects in the future. Today, the fruit of those useful steps is yielding its results.
It should be noted that the trade turnover between the two countries exceeds 6 billion dollars. This turnover increased by 40 percent in seven months of this year. Now the goal is to increase the trade turnover to 15 billion dollars.
Igdir-Nakhchivan gas pipeline and new railway line
The Igdir-Nakhchivan gas pipeline, of which the first memorandum of understanding on its construction was signed on December 15, 2020, was finally inaugurated by the heads of the two brotherly countries after three years. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Nakhchivan and comprehensive talks with President Ilham Aliyev actually prepared new contours for the region in the near future.
In this regard, the strategic importance of the gas project is extremely important. The construction of the Igdir-Nakhchivan gas pipeline is also an important event in the history of our brotherly relations, and it must give a new impetus to the development of Azerbaijan's strategic relations. This project is also expected to ensure the energy security of Nakhchivan to a greater extent.
At the Nakhchivan meeting, an exchange of views was held regarding the expansion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. Also, it is planned to increase the capacity of this road from 1 million to 5 million tons in the coming months.
In addition, the construction of the railway connecting Azerbaijan with Nakhchivan and Turkiye is also progressing successfully. Works in the territory of Azerbaijan should be completed by the end of next year.
Construction of the Kars-Nakhchivan railway, which once again makes Armenia offside
"The signing of the protocol of intent on the construction of the Kars-Nakhchivan railway is also a historic event. I am sure that this project will be successfully implemented and serve the interests of Azerbaijan, Turkiye, and other countries as a part of the Middle Corridor.”
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, addressed it during the signing of the memorandum of intent on the construction of the Kars-Nakhchivan railway together with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to the President, a similar meeting was held on the opening of the TANAP pipeline. However, today documents are being signed on the opening of the gas pipeline connecting Azerbaijan with Nakhchivan and at the same time with Turkiye. This is indeed a historic event and at the same time an extremely important opportunity for neighboring countries that can think rationally.
However, ongoing processes show that Armenia remains on the sidelines. And if Armenia chose the right path, it could participate in this project through the Zangazur Corridor and benefit from it. Now, Azerbaijan is already working on Iran, that is, a new railway is being built across Iran. The new road that will go from Zangilan to Iran, from there to Nakhchivan, and connect to the Turkish railway line, forms a new transport landscape in the region. It is for this reason that the railway from Kars to Nakhchivan is being built.
Nakhchivan under Armenian blockade for 103 years
The blockade of Nakhchivan by Armenia for more than a century can be considered the cruelest aggression of the past hundred years. Besides, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia's non-constructive policy in the last thirty years inflicted further damage to the region’s economic welfare.
After the separation of Western Zangazur from Azerbaijan by the Soviet authorities in 1920, the geographical connection between the main part of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan was cut off.
During the military aggression of Armenia in the 1990s, Armenia cut off all electricity and gas lines of Nakhchivan, and Nakhchivan was practically under blockade. Azerbaijanis living in Nakhchivan lived without gas for 15 years. According to the agreement signed with Iran in 2005, the supply of gas from Iran to Nakhchivan was ensured through exchange. Currently, the construction of the Igdir-Nakhchivan gas pipeline will create conditions for supplying natural gas to Nakhchivan through the second line.
End of separatism and hubbub of "blockade" allegation
Exactly six days ago, Azerbaijan fully restored its sovereignty by disarming the separatist forces in Garabagh in just 23 hours and 43 minutes. Although the occupation ended in 2020 as a result of the Second Garabagh War, Armenia did not fully comply with the act of capitulation signed on November 10. Neither separatists nor illegal weapons were withdrawn from Garabagh. Following this, on April 23 of this year, Azerbaijan fully restored its territorial integrity by setting up a State Border Checkpoint in the direction of Azerbaijan’s Lachin district bordering Armenia. By doing so, Azerbaijan also cut off the food pipe of separatism through which the only illegal ammunition was sent to terrorist groups concentrated in certain places of Azerbaijan’s Garabagh. Trying to turn this into an excuse, Armenia started a slander campaign under the name of a new "blockade" right before international organizations. This campaign was further forged by the special initiative of Yerevan and was transformed into the "hunger" campaign. It was time to put an end to all of it, and the latest deadly landmine terror by separatist remnants triggered anti-terrorist measures; less than a day later, the Armenian army, illegally settled in the territory of Azerbaijan, surrendered and accepted the terms set by Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is experiencing historic moments - our historic victory in the Second Garabagh War, and the restoration of our sovereignty as a result of a successful operation six days ago are historic events, and we are rightfully proud of them.
Fuel, food products, medicines, etc. sent from Azerbaijan to the Armenian population living in the Garabagh region is a humane act of Azerbaijan in exchange for all aggressions of Armenia and their separatist vassals. This once again shows that people living in the Garabagh region are citizens of Azerbaijan, regardless of their nationality. Their safety and security rights will be ensured by the state of Azerbaijan.
The Yevlakh meeting held a few days ago and the second meeting held yesterday increased confidence that the process of integration of the Armenian population living in Garabagh into Azerbaijani society continues rapidly and successfully.
Elnur Enveroglu is AzerNews’ deputy editor-in-chief, follow him on @ElnurMammadli1
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