By Akbar Mammadov
Expanding relations with Turkey is among Azerbaijan's key foreign policy priorities, Jeyhun Bayramov said in Ankara on August 11, in his first foreign visit as Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister.
During the visit, Bayramov met his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavushoghlu. Jeyhun Bayramov and Azerbaijan’s Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov were also received by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the same day.
Addressing the presser in Ankara, Bayramov said that the relations between Baku and Ankara are developing in every field in line with Heydar Aliyev’s “One nation, two states” philosophy and Ataturk’s “Azerbaijan’s joy is our joy, its sorrow is our sorrow” words.
Bayramov noted that despite the economic crisis in the world, the trade turnover between the two countries increased by 20 percent in the first five months of 2020.
“About 2,000 Azerbaijani-based companies operate in Turkey. $18.1 billion of capital has been invested in the Turkish economy by Azerbaijan,” Bayramov said. He also noted that 4,000 Turkish companies are operating in Azerbaijan and they contributed 12.6 billion dollars to Azerbaijan’s economy.
“The relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey are developing dynamically in all spheres. Our trade turnover increased by 33 percent in 2019 compared to 2018,” Bayramov recalled.
Underlining that the target of 15 billion dollars in bilateral trade will be exceeded in 2023 with the impact of projects such as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway and TANAP, Bayramov said, "the main goal of the relations established in all areas is to ensure regional security and stability, to increase the influence of our countries in the international arena and to strengthen this position.”
Bayramov noted that discussions were held on the Southern Gas Corridor, which will be completed by the end of this year, and its main component, the TANAP project. “These projects are aimed at increasing the regional power of our countries in the international arena.”
Moreover, Bayramov said that Azerbaijan and Turkey have signed 241 agreements in various fields over the years. Currently, 29 additional agreements are being considered. They will be signed and implemented soon.
Turkish Foreign Minister Chavushoglu, pointing to the increased mutual investments between Turkey and Azerbaijan, said that large-scale projects were implemented by Azerbaijan in Turkey.
Chavushoglu highlighted Azerbaijan’s large-scale energy projects, especially those in Turkey.
"Azerbaijan has taken the first place in our natural gas supply and we will increase the amount of gas we buy from Azerbaijan in the future," added Cavushoglu. He stressed the importance of the logistics and transport projects, as well as the Turkey-Nakhchivan Gas Pipeline and Kars-Nakhchivan Railway Project, saying that the gas transported via Nakhchivan is a strategic project for Turkey.
Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijan’s internationally-recognized territories was also on the agenda of the meeting.
During the press conference, Bayramov stressed that Armenia's aggressive policy is the main obstacle to establishing lasting peace in the region.
“In line with the rules of international law and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations (UN), the solutions to the conflict is clear. Azerbaijan's stance on this issue is firm and unchangeable. This problem should be solved according to the principle of territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of borders of Azerbaijan," said Bayramov.
Reminding Turkey’s position on the Nagorno-Karabackh conflict, which is based on international law, Bayramov added: “We last witnessed this support on 12 July, when the Armenian army committed the military provocation in the direction of Tovuz of the Azerbaijan-Armenia border."
In turn, Chavhushoglu said: “Armenia has been occupying 20 per cent of brotherly Azerbaijani lands for years. Despite the decisions and resolutions of the UN Security Council and other international organizations, Armenia avoids resolving the conflict. With such provocations, Armenia shows to the entire world that it hinders the formation of a safe environment for negotiations. The international community, as well as the OSCE Minsk Group, is not making serious efforts to resolve the conflict. We support the settlement of this conflict within the framework of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and on the basis of international law. But whatever solution Azerbaijan chooses, we will stand by Azerbaijan in that issue as well."
Noting the Turkey-Azerbaijan "TurAz Kartali" joint military exercises being held in Azerbaijan, Cavushoglu said that these exercises have been continuing since 2014 are the best indicator of cooperation in this field.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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