Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the reception in honor of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in «Chankaya» Palace, Ankara, February 8, 1994

Mr. President Suleyman Demirel,

Mrs. Nazmiyya,

Dear guests and friends,

My dear friend, brother Suleyman bey, I appeal to you and all the guests gathered here. I express my deep gratitude for inviting me to pay an official visit to Turkey and for the respect and honor shown to me on my visit. Thank you! This is another confirmation of our friendly and brotherly relations going on for many years.

Distinguished Suleyman Demirel is a great personality of the Turkic world and is the well known and highly respected man in the world of politics. I am very happy that twenty-five years ago I met Suleyman Demirel. There established friendly and brotherly relations between us. Over the past period, these relations have not been violated or suspended. Finally, when Azerbaijan gained independence, there emerged great opportunities for the further expansion of fraternal and friendly relations.

My dear brother Suleyman Demirel had great services and won great reputation in the Republic of Turkey and of the Turkish people. At the same time, he has won the respect and reverence of the people and citizens of Azerbaijan. Suleyman Demirel did great work in the period when the Republic of Azerbaijan gained independence, he has great services in the recognition of independence of Azerbaijan in the rest of the world. The Azerbaijani people will never forget it and it will remain in the history of independent Azerbaijan.

Relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey have an ancient history. As it was said by Suleyman bey, we are two states, but one nation. Despite many difficulties, wars and struggles for centuries, the unity of our historical roots has never been broken. These threads were always close to each other. But there were years when the people could not see each other or communicate. But they never lost hope.

In 1992, with Suleyman bey we took part in the opening of the bridge between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Our nations called it the bridge of hope and aspiration. It is not surprising, because for many years, for 70 years, the Azerbaijanis were deprived of communication with Turkey and have always watched Turkey with great expectations and high hopes. When Azerbaijan gained independence, there occurred opportunities. Bridges from hearts to hearts were strengthened and a bridge was laid between our two countries. This bridge is really entered the history as a bridge of hope and aspiration.

Brotherly and friendly relations between our nations, our national traditions with common roots, are examples for us today, as well as very large basis and the foundation for our present and future. Azerbaijan won its independence, strengthens it and tries to make it permanent. In this case, we need the help of the world community and the just people of the world. At the same time in this case the relations with the people of Turkey are of great importance for the independent Republic of Azerbaijan and we have great hopes for them.

Our current meetings are the continuation of relations established between Azerbaijan and Turkey in the recent years. With great pride and pleasure we can say that our peoples divided from each other for 70 years united again as if those 70 years have never been. Feelings that fed hearts of each other, turned into the relations between the countries and much has been done in this field in the past years. We now have the task of continuing more intensively of this work, further expanding and deepening our relations. For this purpose, I accepted the invitation of Suleyman Demirel, and together with a large delegation I came to Turkey, Ankara. With great pride and great excitement I want to tell you that I and the Azerbaijanis who came with me feel here like at home. We do not feel like we came to a foreign country. We are in the house of our brother and we feel in this country free and very happy completely.

Appreciating our relations established earlier, we think a lot about our future at the same time. At the talks held today with the esteemed President Suleyman Demirel, Prime Minister Tansu Chiller and other officials we discussed these issues and I believe that tomorrow for the development of relations between our countries and nations we shall sign new agreements and documents which will lay the foundations and open a new page in the history of our relations.

For the support provided by Turkey to the Azerbaijani people and the independent Republic of Azerbaijan, I express my gratitude and appreciation on behalf of the Azerbaijani people to the Turkish people, the Turkish Republic and President of Turkey Suleyman Demirel. At the same time, I want to express the hope that the subsequent help and support will be at an even higher level and on an even larger scale than before. Our people have a saying which literally says: one may feel offended when the persons in whom you cherish hopes, do not help you. That is, in whom you cherish hopes, from him you expect the support. It is meaningless to wait support from a person on whom you do not rely. With these feelings, thoughts we came to you and hope that you will understand us correctly.

The Republic of Turkey has a long history. Seventy years ago, the great leader, a genius Mustafa Kemal Ataturk laid the foundations of a great and democratic Turkey of today. The following generation continued his work and turned Turkey into an influential and a majestic country of the world.

The new independent Azerbaijan is a young country. Of course, Azerbaijan is in need of its brother and friend who has achieved such a great success. I have no doubt that my brother and friend will not refuse to provide this help. With these expectations, I expect tomorrow to continue our negotiations and signature of new agreements.

At the same time, you should know that Azerbaijan will never give up its independence, live and develop as an independent country. It means that our relations interrupted in the past will never be violated. The main problem facing us, as it was said by distinguished President Sulaiman Bey, is the struggle against the Armenian invaders, release of the occupied Azerbaijani territories, ensuring territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and creating conditions for all citizens of Azerbaijan to live in their homes, lands, and villages. Azerbaijan has over a million refugees. They live in difficult conditions, but tolerate. Because they know that they are now the owners of their lands and country. Our duty is to implement all this into life.

You can be sure that we shall do our best to expel the Armenian invaders from our land. There is no doubt that we shall strive to solve the problem peacefully, through negotiations and to drive the Armenian aggressors from the Azerbaijani lands. At the same time, by mobilizing our power and strengthening the army we shall defend our land. The Azerbaijani people are capable of it. Because the Azerbaijani people have a heroic past and a centuries-old history of the struggle for independence. Our people are confident, because we have such a close friend and brother like Turkey. I assure you that the people of Azerbaijan will always be faithful to this friendship and brotherhood.

My dear friend and brother Suleyman bey, I once more thank you for the respect and honor and call all guests to raise the glasses to the great Republic of Turkey, the great Turkish nation, the Azerbaijani-Turkish friendship and brotherhood, to my dear friend and brother, President of Turkey Suleyman Demirel and his respected wife Mrs. Nazmiyya, to all the guests and to all of our Turkish brothers.

Thank you, be happy! I wish you more happy days and life. Cheers!