It has been 25 years since the signing of the Agreement on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey on Jan. 14, 1992. Throughout a quarter of a century, a special emphasis has been given to ensure regional security and the realization of socio-economic, scientific and cultural ties.
More than 200 agreements have been signed between the two countries toward strengthening the legal framework that has ensured the continuous development of bilateral ties which also reflected the rising number of high-level official visits. The realization of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Crude Oil Pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Natural Gas Pipeline projects have been the landmarks in the development of relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey to the level of strategic partnership.
The Southern Gas Corridor project of the 21st century, worth $45 billion, has been launched through the efforts of Azerbaijan and Turkey. The flagships of this project, the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) projects are well underway. These projects are based on a strong will demonstrated by the presidents of the two brotherly countries that also constitute important opportunities, and will Turkey a central country for the transport of energy resources.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line project which will connect Turkey and Azerbaijan, along with the rail connection under the Marmara Sea, will revitalize the fabled Silk Road. This project will not only extend the capacity for transport of goods between Turkey and Azerbaijan, but will ensure that a transport network is established, therefore bringing the civilizations together.
The investments from Turkey in Azerbaijan during the latter's first years of independence have been of special importance. In the coming years, it is expected that the volume of investments from Azerbaijan to Turkey will reach $20 billion annually, spearheaded by the Azerbaijani State Petroleum Corporation. This will be the highest overseas investment ever carried out by Azerbaijan, which will rank among the top foreign investors in Turkey.
The relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey which have been formed by mutual trust and solidarity have been carried on in the same way on international platforms. The two states have continued successful cooperation to protect their national interests in the United Nations Organization, European Security and Cooperation Organization, the Council of Europe, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking Countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The determined attitude of the Republic of Turkey in the international arena for the resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its policy of support toward re-establishing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan are prime examples of solidarity. In this context, the military cooperation between the brotherly countries has ensured the Azerbaijan Armed Forces to reach a formidable strength.
All these indicate that a golden age is being witnessed in Azerbaijan-Turkey relations. The Azerbaijan-Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council was established under the joint leadership of the presidents of the two countries in 2010 and its regular meetings have garnered mutual benefits for both sides. Throughout these meetings, the legal framework has taken a comprehensive character to further develop relations.
A special reminder needs to be made when it comes to assessing the Azerbaijan and Turkey relationship. It has become a tradition for the leaders of the two countries to carry out their first officials visits after elections. The fifth meeting of the High Level Strategic Partnership Council on March 15, 2016, was particularly an important date in the 25-year-long relationship between Turkey and Azerbaijan as an instance of solidarity. It may be remembered that the meeting was to be held in Azerbaijan, instead upon the proposal of President İlham Aliyev, it was held in Turkey due to the heinous terror attacks that occurred in Ankara just a short in the days preceding the meeting. The moment the presidents embraced each other at the end of the press conference of the meeting was a meaningful indicator of solidarity during hard times, which went beyond the rules of protocol.
We are confident that the success achieved in a short period of 25 years, which can be personified acts as the iron chain of the unbreakable link between our countries, will continue in an upward trend in the years to come.
* Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Turkey
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