Statement of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev for the press at the ceremony of signature of documents between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Turkey - May 5, 1997

Dear members of the press!

Ladies and gentlemen!

I express my satisfaction with my official visit to Turkey at the invitation of President Mr. Suleyman Demirel, with the hospitality and friendly attitude towards the Azerbaijani delegation, and to me since our arrival here.

Today we conducted productive negotiations, discussed important issues, exchanged views. It is a vivid evidence of the friendly and fraternal relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Our peoples are united by historical roots, history, traditions, culture, language, religion.

Among the external relations which Azerbaijan has established since its independence, of special importance is its relations with Turkey. Turkey has always supported Azerbaijan, and became the first country to recognize Azerbaijan`s independence. Our relations have a rich history and are rapidly growing. They are based on Turkey`s special care and friendly attitude towards Azerbaijan. This attitude comes from the Turkish people, Turkish government. My dear friend and brother, President Suleyman Demirel also cares for Azerbaijan greatly.

It should be noted that Suleyman Demirel has played a special role in the recognition of Azerbaijan`s independence and development of our relations.

Therefore, I express my gratitude and appreciation to Suleyman Demirel on the behalf of the entire Azerbaijani people. I also thank for the kind attitude towards me and the Azerbaijani delegation in Turkey.

My dear friend Suleyman Demirel, I thank you for your kind words about me, my service during the hard period of Azerbaijan.

Dear friends, you can be sure that the Azerbaijani people will further defend their national independence and freedom. The independence is our historical achievement, and it is our supreme duty to defend it. Our relations with Turkey are of particular importance in this respect. Our bilateral relations, especially multilateral cooperation in discussing the issues are extremely important.

A number of agreements have been signed between Azerbaijan and Turkey so far. But the documents signed today further expand and strengthen the legal basis of our relations. In particular, “The Declaration on deepening the strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey” signed by the presidents is of great importance. It displays a new stage achieved in our relations. In general, our meetings, negotiations, documents open a new phase in the Turkish -Azerbaijani relations. I hope that we can use these opportunities more effectively.

I note with great pleasure that our great biggest problems, which are Armenia`s invasion, the occupation of 20% of our territories, one million refugees living in hard conditions always concern Turkey, and are in the focus of public attention of Turkey. The Turkish statespeople also pay attention to these issues. Turkey`s strong position on this conflict, support our negotiations, and the consultations on the solution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict on the basis of the principles adopted at the Lisbon summit of OSCE. I hope that we shall achieve the peaceful solution of this conflict together with Turkey.

I also hope that these meetings will continue and our friendship will develop further.

Thank you for the attention.

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