Erdoğan pays first foreign visit to Azerbaijan
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 10 travelled to Azerbaijan, making his first foreign trip since being sworn in as Turkey’s first executive president with sweeping powers.
In Baku, Erdoğan met with his Azeri counterpart İlham Aliyev while delegations from the two countries also gathered to discuss bilateral ties.
“During the tete-a-tete and the meeting between the delegations we had the opportunity to review our relations,” Erdoğan told a joint press conference with Aliyev.
“We are seriously interested in the trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project [TANAP] which is a strategic project. The steps taken in [the Central Anatolian province of] Eskişehir was significant,” Erdoğan added.
Erdoğan and Aliyev inaugurated the TANAP project on June 12 with a ceremony in Eskişehir.
“The investment Azerbaijan undertakes in Aliağa is very important. This fall, we will have the opportunity to further develop this investment,” Erdoğan said in Baku.
SOCAR Turkey, an affiliate of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR, is building the Star refinery with a $6.3 billion investment on the Aliağa Peninsula in İzmir, an Aegean city in Turkey. The company is expected to launch in October.
Erfdoğan emphasized that Turkish-Azeri relations are strengthened on the basis of “one nation, two states,” referring to the Turkic roots of both.
Erdoğan also thanked Aliyev for his hospitality and his support in the fight against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Ankara accuses U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and his network FETÖ of orchestrating the 2016 attempted coup.
For his part Aliyev said “we are friends and brothers.”
“Erdogan paying his first foreign visit to Azerbaijan after being elected president confirmed this,” Aliyev said.
Following his talks with Azeri officials Erdoğan left Baku for Turkish Cyprus.
Following a long-existing tradition of Turkey’s elected heads of government, Erdoğan first visited Baku.
Next stops Turkish Cyprus and Brussels
As part of this tradition the Turkish president on July 10 travelled to Turkish Cyprus where he was set to meet with Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı.
The president’s next address will be Brussels on July 11 and July 12, where he will attend the NATO Summit. On the margins of the summit, he will meet with a number of heads of governments and states, including United States President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May.