Turkey, Azerbaijan solidarity keeps ‘getting stronger’
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Oct. 31 hailed the strengthening of bonds of solidarity between Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Speaking at a news conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev following the 6th Turkey-Azerbaijan High-Level Strategic Council meeting in the capital Baku, Erdoğan said: “The solidarity between Turkey and Azerbaijan in political, military, economic, and cultural areas continues to get stronger.”
The president also praised the first official train service to connect Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia - the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project - which was launched on Oct. 30.
The 826-kilometer (513-mile) railway project connecting Baku with Turkey’s northeastern province of Kars via Tbilisi was launched in 2007, and its construction began in 2008.
Erdoğan said the railway line would not only serve passengers but also provide freight service that would lead to an economic boost.
He noted that bilateral trade volume between the countries was $1.6 billion, adding: “I believe that we will soon reach $5 billion.”
About the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), Erdoğan said work linked to the project was continuing “intensively.”
“In a short period of time, Azeri gas will start to flow to Europe,” he added.
Aliyev said ties between Turkey and Azerbaijan were at the “highest” level.
“There are no other countries that support each other like this,” Aliyev added.
He said consensus between the countries plays a “stabilizing” role in the region.
Turkish state lender Ziraat launches in Azerbaijan
Turkey’s state lender Ziraat Bank launched officially in Azerbaijan, it announced on Oct. 31.
Nihat Zeybekci, the Turkish economy minister, and Elman Siraj Rustamov, governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Azerbaijan, were present at the launch ceremony, the bank said in a statement, as reported by Anadolu Agency.
The bank has been in the Azerbaijan market since 1995 as a partnership of Azer Turk Bank, the statement added.
The bank got a license from the Central Bank of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Dec. 30, 2014 and has been operating in Azerbaijan since 2015.
“Ziraat Bank Azerbaijan reached $100 million assets, $45 million of credit, $50 million of deposit money and $35 million of equity just in its second year,” the bank said.
“Ziraat Bank will play a significant role in the economic independence of both countries,” said Zeybekci.