Turkic leaders assemble in Kyrgyzstan for 6th Summit of Cooperation Council
The 6th Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States was held at the "Rux Ordo" Cultural Center named after Chingiz Aitmatov in Cholpon-Ata town of the Kyrgyz Republic on September 3.
The summit with a focus on national sports and youth policy and was attended by the presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán participated as guests of honor.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, while addressing the summit, said that Azerbaijan maintains close ties with all Turkic-speaking states.
“These ties are becoming stronger and expanding day by day. Our relations cover political, economic, commercial, transport and humanitarian spheres, and we are observing excellent results in all directions. Our countries also support each other in international organizations, and this support is very important. I believe that additional steps will be taken in connection with our activities within the framework of international organizations in the coming years,” he said.
Ilham Aliyev stressed that issues of regional security are of particular importance because new risks, threats, hotbeds of conflict and wars are emerging in the present-day world.
“Azerbaijan has been suffering from Armenian occupation many years. For more than 20 years, Nagorno-Karabakh, which is recognized by the international community as an integral part of Azerbaijan, as well as seven adjacent districts, have been under Armenian occupation. As a result of this occupation, about 20 per cent of our land is occupied by Armenia. More than a million Azerbaijanis have found themselves in the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons on their native land. A policy of ethnic cleansing has been carried out against our people. War crimes and the Khojaly genocide have been perpetrated,” he said.
More than 10 countries of the world officially recognize the Khojaly carnage as an act of genocide, according to the Azerbaijani head of state.
“In just one night, more than 600 innocent people, including more than 100 women and over 60 children, were brutally killed by the Armenians. More than a thousand people went missing. Nothing is known about their fate. Armenia has destroyed all our historical and religious monuments on the occupied lands. The mosques, graves of our ancestors and material resources have been plundered by Armenia. This is a war crime, and the perpetrators of this crime must be and are being held accountable. It is no coincidence that the criminal regime which ruled Armenia for more than 20 years has collapsed, and the Armenian people today are saying what we have been saying all along. We do hope that the new leaders of Armenia take a constructive position in connection with the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, our lands are soon liberated from occupation, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is restored, and peace and cooperation are established in the region,” he noted.
President Aliyev also said that all international organizations recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, adding that the UN Security Council, the world's highest body, has adopted four resolutions in connection with the conflict.
“These resolutions contain explicit provisions regarding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the territories of Azerbaijan. Of course, the conflict must be resolved on the basis of these principles. Other international organizations, including the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, have adopted similar decisions and resolutions. This is the legal framework for resolving the conflict,” he said.
Saying that the topic of today's summit is related to sports, President Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan pays much attention to sports.
“The development of sports is a state policy in Azerbaijan. Our country has hosted several prestigious international competitions. Among them I want to highlight the First European Games. Unlike other continental games, European games had never been held before. The Games were held in Baku for the first time three years ago. These Games were joined by more than 5,000 athletes representing all European countries. Azerbaijan showed great results in the Games and finished in second place among teams. Two years later, in 2017, the Fourth Games of Islamic Solidarity were organized in Baku. Azerbaijani athletes finished the Games in first place. The fact that both European and Islamic games were held in one city in a matter of two years was further evidence of Azerbaijan's contribution to interethnic and interreligious multiculturalism. Azerbaijani athletes are showing good results in Olympic Games as well. In the latest Summer Olympic Games, Azerbaijan finished in 14th place in terms of the number of medals, and this is a historic achievement for our country,” he said.
Touching upon humanitarian issues, Ilham Aliyev praised the activities of TURKSOY and the Fund for Turkic Culture and Heritage, adding that Azerbaijan takes an active part in both organizations.
He went on to say that in the current conditions, economic cooperation should be deepened.
“In particular, it is necessary to take additional steps to increase the turnover between our countries, and I think that investment projects play a special role in that. New mechanisms must be developed to encourage mutual investment,” President Aliyev said.
Azerbaijan invests heavily in fraternal countries, first of all, in Turkey, according to the Azerbaijani head of state.
“In recent years, a total of 14 billion dollars have been invested in Turkey's economy and Turkey has invested about as much in Azerbaijan. The volume of our investments in Turkey will reach 20 billion dollars in the coming years. This reflects our friendship and brotherhood, and also demonstrates the large economic potential of Turkey,” he said.
In general, by investing in fraternal countries, we are also securing our economic interests and creating new opportunities in these countries, according to President Aliyev.
“Azerbaijan also has a wonderful investment climate and mutual investment will further strengthen our unity.
Ilham Aliyev recalled that such a grandiose infrastructure project as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has been operating since October last year.
“Azerbaijan has also done its best to accept investments from fraternal countries. Azerbaijan also has a wonderful investment climate, and mutual investment will further strengthen our unity, especially if we consider that such an immense infrastructure project as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has been in operation since October last year. This line connects Asia with Europe, so the volume of freight traffic is growing and should continue to grow. This is a new transport corridor, a new transport artery. By implementing this project together with fraternal and neighboring countries, Azerbaijan is redrawing the transport map of Eurasia. Considering the fact that this is a very favorable route from the transport point of view, I am urging all friendly countries to take advantage of this railway, including European countries, Hungary, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan, Turkey and Azerbaijan are already using this railway,” he added.
In his speech, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that during the period that passed after the Astana summit, which took place in 2015, the cooperation between the Turkic-speaking states has developed even more, ties in the political, economic, social and other spheres have strengthened.
Nazarbayev also highlighted Kazakhstan’s achievements as chair of the Turkic Council.
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in turn, noted that the Turkic Council, the basis of which was laid down in 2009 at the Nakhchivan summit, for the past period has developed rapidly and turned into a strong structure.
Speaking of the development of transport corridors, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed the importance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, said that it also serves to bring our peoples closer.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, which was built jointly with Azerbaijan, is a modern Silk Road, he noted.
Erdogan noted that this is one of the most important transport projects that will contribute to the development of the region.
“Thanks to the joint project with Azerbaijan, uninterrupted transportation of goods from China to Europe became possible,” Erdogan said.
“We attach great importance to the development of ties in the field of energy. The projects of the BakuTbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline are the most important result of this cooperation. In June, we commissioned TANAP, which is the core of the Southern Gas Corridor,” he said. He also recalled the signing of the Convention on the status of the Caspian Sea.
Noting the importance of Turkey’s and other countries’ support in restoring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the President of Turkey said that each issue related to peace and stability should be in the center of attention.
“From this point of view, we will continue our efforts to resolve the Armenia-Azerbaijan NagornoKarabakh conflict within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
At the end of the summit, the four member nations adopted the concept of integration of Turkic Speaking States, a joint statement of the CCTS heads of state on development of cooperation in the field of national sports and youth policy and a joint statement on the 90th anniversary of Chingiz Aitmatov, the late Kyrgyz writer who is deeply respected not only in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, but well beyond their borders. They also signed the Declaration of the Sixth Summit of the CCTS and granted Hungary observer status. It was also decided to hold next summit in Azerbaijan in 2019.
As part of his visit to Kyrgyzstan, on the sidelines of the summit, Ilham Aliyev also met with Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov.
“We attach great importance to cooperation with Kyrgyzstan. We intend to increase cooperation in all areas - both in political and economic spheres. There are good prospects for cooperation in the transport sector,” President Aliyev said at the meeting.
The Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council) was established on October 3, 2009, a date marked as the Turkic Speaking States Cooperation Day, with the overarching aim of promoting comprehensive cooperation among Turkic Speaking States. Its four founding member states are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.