Wednesday October 4 2023

Staying loyal to leadership role, Azerbaijani president rallying int’l support to quake-hit Turkiye

16 March 2023 17:59 (UTC+04:00)
Staying loyal to leadership role, Azerbaijani president rallying int’l support to quake-hit Turkiye
 Fuad Muxtar-Aqbabali
Fuad Muxtar-Aqbabali
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Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev initiated the Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) in Ankara to demonstrate that Turkiye is not alone in the face of the recent devastating earthquake and steer international support to mitigate the pain.

The event was initially due to be held in Shusha to galvanize support for Azerbaijan’s efforts to rebuild the region razed to the ground by the Armenian occupation. However, the president behaved in a statesmanlike manner and proposed to hold the Summit in Ankara for the purpose of supporting the brotherly nation. This is yet another vivid example of the Azerbaijani-Türkiye brotherhood, as well as a sign of mutual support and respect for the Turkic world.

Nation-wide support for Türkiye

The government and people of Azerbaijan were mobilized to provide humanitarian aid to Türkiye the moment the earthquake struck, Ilham Aliyev told the summit.

“940 people from Azerbaijan, including rescue workers, medical personnel, and volunteers, were dispatched to the earthquake region. Azerbaijan topped the list of countries worldwide for the number of rescuers sent to Türkiye. Thanks to the efforts of our rescue workers and doctors, 53 people were saved from under the rubble. Also, the bodies of 780 people were found. Our medical personnel provided medical assistance to more than 3,000 people,” the president emphasized.

“To date, over $45m have been transferred into the bank accounts of AFAD and other humanitarian organizations. In addition, 5,300 tons of humanitarian aid was delivered to brotherly Türkiye,” the president added.

Brothers through foul and fair

Azerbaijan and Türkiye have always been by each other's side on both joyful and sombre days. And it will continue to be the case in the future too, the president said.

“The political, diplomatic, and moral support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for Azerbaijan from the first hours of the Second Karabakh War to the last day in 2020 gave us extra strength. In the meantime, during the 44-day war, the entire Turkish people stood by Azerbaijan. Thousands of support and congratulatory messages from Türkiye came both during the war and after our historic Victory,” the president underlined.

Ilham Aliyev added that in June 2021, the Shusha Declaration between Türkiye and Azerbaijan was signed in the city of Shusha, the crown jewel of Karabakh, and our relations between Baku and Ankara were officially raised to the level of an alliance.

Armenia has not yet fully withdrawn its troops from Azerbaijani lands

Although Armenia recognized Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty in Prague and Sochi in 2022, it has not yet fully withdrawn its troops from the territory of Azerbaijan. Illegal Armenian detachments and criminal elements still remain in Karabakh, the president added.

“Armenia also evades the obligation to open the Zangazur corridor. Therefore, Armenia flagrantly violates the statement signed on November 10, 2020, and should be held accountable,” Aliyev underscored.

Azerbaijan rebuilding Karabakh

“After the liberation of Karabakh and East Zangazur from Armenian occupation in 2020, Azerbaijan launched large-scale reconstruction work in these areas. Azerbaijan is restoring life in vast areas Armenia has completely destroyed,” Ilham Aliyev told the extraordinary summit in Ankara.

“We are building nine new cities and initially more than 300 villages and towns from scratch. This is a rare and unprecedented model of post-conflict reconstruction by a national government using its own financial resources. In 2021-2022, the state of Azerbaijan spent about $4bn on reconstruction in liberated areas. This year, we plan to allocate at least $1.7bn,” the president elaborated.

Turkish companies leading reconstruction process

“We have started implementing the Great Return program to return former internally displaced persons to their homelands. Turkish companies are actively involved in many infrastructure projects as contractors in the reconstruction process,” the Azerbaijani leader added.

Contracts worth over $3bn had been signed with Turkish companies to date, the president said, highlighting visits of the president of Türkiye to Shusha, Fuzuli, Zangilan, and Jabrayil.

President Ilham Aliyev also thanked Uzbek and Kazakh Presidents Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev respectively for the school being built by Uzbekistan and the creative center under construction by Kazakhstan in the liberated Fuzuli District.

Türkiye’s development essential for the Turkic world

“In the last 20 years, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Türkiye has covered a tremendous and glorious path, Türkiye has gained a say in the whole world, and has become a powerhouse. Today, Türkiye is reckoned with and respected all over the globe,” Ilham Aliyev said in Ankara.

“Everyone in the world now sees Türkiye's military power and tremendous successes in the defense industry. Thanks to the leadership of my dear brother, continuous stability in Türkiye over these years and the country's development are essential for the entire Turkic world,” Ilham Aliyev highlighted.

Western Azerbaijanis must return to historical lands

“Our fellow compatriots suffered from ethnic cleansing in Western Azerbaijan have now united in the Western Azerbaijan Community. They have set the goal of a peaceful return to their historical lands,” the president said in Ankara, urging Armenia to guarantee the rights and security of the Western Azerbaijanis based on the principle of reciprocity.

“According to the Concept of Return developed by the Western Azerbaijan Community, an international legally binding agreement with an appropriate verification and guarantee mechanism for the return of Azerbaijanis expelled from the territory of present-day Armenia should be put in place. Just as we, the state of Azerbaijan, will guarantee the individual rights and security of the Armenian residents living in Karabakh, Armenia must guarantee the rights and security of the Western Azerbaijanis based on the principle of reciprocity,” the president noted.


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