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Turkey seeks to strengthen ties with Azerbaijan

26 February 2015 14:31 (UTC+04:00)
Turkey seeks to strengthen ties with Azerbaijan

By Mushvig Mehdiyev

Turkey is committed to cooperate with Azerbaijan in view of developing bilateral ties, a top Turkish official said.

Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu noted at a meeting with Ogtay Asadov, Azerbaijani Parliament Speaker, in Baku on February 25 that his country is very interested in bettering its relations with neighboring Azerbaijan.

"We are working together with Azerbaijan to lift our relations to a higher level and to strengthen our cooperation on the international arena," Chavushoglu stressed, quickly adding, "Azerbaijan and Turkey have reached their goal, as the bilateral trade reached $5 billion this year."

Referring to the recent 4th meeting of Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, Chavusoglu confirmed that new goals had been set following the meeting and that the $15 billion turnover in trade was now a main focus of interest.

"The world has been now hit by an economic crisis, but thanks to reforms carried out by the leaders of our countries, Azerbaijan and Turkey are pressing ahead on the path of development," he said.

Asadov, for his turn, described Azerbaijani-Turkish ties as excellent, saying it could be an example for other countries.

"There is all-round cooperation between the two brotherly countries. Reciprocal visits of the heads of states, as well as high-level meetings testify to the excellent mutual relations," he added.

Asadov highlighted Azerbaijan's desire to increase the volume of investment made in Turkey. "Our goal is to up the overall investment made by Azerbaijan in Turkey up to $20 billion until 2020.”

Azerbaijan figures among top investor countries in Turkey, especially in the energy sector where Baku has most invested.

Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR owns several facilities in Turkey: STAR Refinery, Petkim Container Port, STEP Power Plant.

Azerbaijan now aims to become the top investor in Turkey through SOCAR's expanding involvement in energy projects. SOCAR’s investments in Turkey together with the TANAP project will reach between $17 billion and $20 billion by 2018, lifting Azerbaijan reportedly the top of the investors list in Turkey.

Both Chavushoglu and Artur Rasizade, Azerbaijani Prime Minister, hailed Turkey and Azerbaijan's fraternal bonds, noting that deep historical and cultural ties in between the two will continue to grow.

The two high-ranking diplomats also welcomed the universal strategic cooperation in certain fields, including in the fields of politics, economy and culture.

Chavushoglu and Rasizade supported the same stance on deepening bilateral collaboration in implementing global energy and transport projects, as well as strengthening international and military-technical collaboration.

When the talks focused on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the two diplomats both emphasized the necessity of supporting Azerbaijan's fair position before the international community.

In his meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Chavushoglu reiterated Turkey's firm support to Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and position in regard to the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Turkey unequivocally refuses to open its borders with Armenia until the latter withdraw from Azerbaijan's occupied lands. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's recently called on Armenia to liberate al least one Azerbaijani district as a condition to revive Turkish-Armenian protocols.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts, which historically have belonged to Azerbaijan and have been recognized as belonging to Azerbaijan by the international community, remain under Armenian occupation.

Not only has Armenia refused to comply with several UN Security Council resolutions, but it has systematically violated upon Azerbaijan's territorial sovereignty by targeting its civilians and allowing its armed forces to target villages.

Although Baku has tried time and time again to broker a peaceful resolution to the conflict in view of preserving regional stability and promoting tolerance, Armenia has ignored all calls for restraint.

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