Time to open new page in South Caucasus: Erdoğan
While voicing Turkey’s support for ongoing peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said it’s time to open a new page in the South Caucasus to build the future together by taking lessons from the pains suffered in the past.
“Now is the time to write a story of success, peace and development in these lands. We need to build the future together, as the peoples of the region, by learning lessons from the past and the pains we have experienced,” Erdoğan said in a speech he delivered on May 28 as he attended the TEKNOFEST with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in Baku.
Erdoğan, Vice President Fuat Oktay, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, as well as other senior officials were in Baku to attend the TEKNOFEST, an aviation festival now held abroad for the first time. The festival has highlighted the performances of Turkish aviation products, including the Akıncı drones.
Turkey will stand by Azerbaijan in peace as in war, Erdoğan said, recalling Turkey’s support to Azerbaijan in the late 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, which resulted in the liberation of Azerbaijani territories from the three-decade-long occupation of Armenia.
“In the name of regional peace and stability, we strongly support the permanent peace that my dear brother Aliyev wants to establish with Armenia,” the Turkish president said, citing ongoing Baku-Yerevan talks for a substantial agreement that would also finalize their borders.
“Our goal is to establish lasting peace, establish trust and good neighborly relations, and also strengthen stability in our region by accelerating development. We will maintain close solidarity, contact and coordination with Azerbaijan for the realization of these goals,” he noted.
Turkey, Azerbaijan to open two new airports
Erdoğan hailed the development of Azerbaijan in every field, voicing Turkey’s support for the great transformation of the country as was the case in Karabakh and East Zengezur, where Turkey is actively contributing to the reconstruction efforts.
“We are now planting the seeds of development, prosperity and peace on these lands that have been mined for years,” Erdoğan said. Recalling that Füzuli International Airport was inaugurated last year, Erdoğan said two new airport projects, one in Lacin and the other in Zengilan, are underway.
Turkey and Azerbaijan will continue to work together for the establishment of smart cities in the region, Erdoğan stated.
Strategic alliance with Azerbaijan
Erdoğan also stressed that Turkey and Azerbaijan’s “strategic alliance” is reinforced by last year’s declaration in the wake of Azerbaijan’s victory in a regional war with Armenia.
“We first elevated our relationship with Azerbaijan to a strategic partnership, and last year to a strategic alliance with the Shusha Declaration,” he stated.
“We are organizing Teknofest, the world’s most popular aviation, space and technology festival, in Baku, the pearl of the Caspian, with the slogan of one nation, two states, and one festival.”