Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in the 4th forum of the summit of Turkic states – Tashkent, October 21, 1996

Messrs Presidents!

Ladies and gentlemen!

I cordially thank the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Islam Karimov for hospitality and excellent organization of the forum. I greet the participants of the forum - President of the Republic of Turkey. Suleyman Demirel, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayev, President of the Republic of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov and wish you and your peoples happiness and prosperity.

I note with great pleasure that the noble traditions of our forum founded in Ankara in 1992 continue, our brotherhood and cooperation have strengthened and developed successfully. The summit of the Turkic states proved that it is necessary and useful; I extend my gratitude to our friend Mr. Demirel who initiated the forum and made efforts for its realization.

By looking back we can state that our countries have successfully gone through hard tests and reached historical achievements in spite of the difficulties of the period transition. Strengthening the independence of our countries, establishing democratic constitutional states, carrying out political and economic reforms, creating the principles of market economy are real outcomes of our progress.

Similarities in our goals, tasks and problems also unite our countries. Our peoples are also united by a common history, cultural roots and traditions, language and religion.

I am pleased to note that the bilateral relations have developed further, a lot of high-level visits paid have been, international meetings and negotiations have been held among the Turkic countries since the first summit in Ankara. Close personal contacts, friendly relationships prevail among the heads of the Turkic states.

Important intergovernmental agreements have been signed in these meetings. Their implementation develops the cooperation between our countries, expands our spiritual and cultural relations, strengthens the independence of our countries. Our personal friendship and frequent meetings also help solve difficult problems with joint efforts. Therefore, we can declare that our forum has taken shape, has received an international status and promises good perspectives.

The important geo-political location, rich natural sources, higher intelligent and diligent population, independence and sovereignty, democratic and market reforms allow our countries turn our region into one of the most advanced and prosperous regions of the world.

Dear friends!

Our cooperation is beginning to yield its fruits. We have launched the projects on the construction of communication systems. These systems will connect our countries even closer; open the roads to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the entire world. Carried out with the participation of the European Union, TRACECA is one of such projects which embodies the famous Silk Road and which in its turn once connected Europe and Asia. The quadripartite Serakhs agreements concluded by Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia on the use of the Trans-Caucasian corridor serve the aim of connecting the Central Asia with Europe as the shortest and most reliable and route. I welcome the accession of Uzbekistan to the agreement.

We carry out large-scale projects on oil and gas production in the Azerbaijan Sector of the Caspian Sea together with big oil companies of the United States, Russia, Great Britain, Turkey, Iran, France, Italy, Norway, Japan, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

As it is known, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan also implement such projects in their respective sectors. In this regard, construction of pipelines to transport oil and gas from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan to the world markets becomes an important issue. I think that our countries could cooperate more closely for the implementation this issue successfully. In my opinion, the Central Asia - Caspian - Azerbaijan - Georgia - Turkey - Black Sea - Mediterranean Sea pipelines could be one of the safest and most appropriate options.

Our excellent cooperation in developing the national culture and spiritual heritage is also satisfactory. Our great thinkers, national epics with millennial history such as Dede Korkut, Manas, Alpamish, are our common cultural heritage, a basis of high morals and moral values, sources that have brought up in the spirit of kindness and humanity. It was my pleasure to take part in the 150th anniversary of the great Kazakh poet and thinker Abay in Almaty, in the 1,000th anniversary of the Kirgiz epic Manas in Bishkek. I think that our cultural and research organizations will strengthen the relations and jointly promote our spiritual culture.

Fortunately, our Tashkent meeting coincides with the 660th anniversary of the great son of Uzbeks Amir Temur. The anniversary ceremony is attended by the presidents of the Turkic states; it is a remarkable event, an expression of great respect, an evidence of our unity, which is increasingly strengthening.

Under the decision by UNESCO, the 500th anniversary of the prominent Oriental educator, Azerbaijani poet Fuzuli is celebrated worldwide. Anniversary ceremonies took place in Ankara, Tehran, Baghdad and Karbala, Moscow, Paris. The final celebrations dedicated to Fuzuli will be held in Baku on November 6 of the current year. Dear friends, I would take this opportunity to invite all of you to take part in the anniversary celebrations.

Your Excellency!

The end of the twentieth century is marked by the events which have changed the world's geopolitical scene: collapse of totalitarian regimes, birth of new independent countries, and establishment of democratic values ​around the world.

However, international threats have not reduced. Separatism, aggressive nationalism and international terrorism, use of force with the intention of changing the borders of the current states are direct and real threats international and regional stability. Therefore, we should vigorously support the norms of international law, the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of internationally recognized borders.

The aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan has been lasting for eight years. As a result of invasion, 20 percent of our territory has been occupied. Over one million Azerbaijani citizens have become refugees and are dwelling in tent camps in critical conditions.

The ceasefire agreement concluded in the May 1994 stopped the bloody hostilities. However, peace agreement has been signed yet despite all our efforts both within the framework of the Minsk Group OSCE and direct negotiations. Brutally devastated towns and villages of Azerbaijan remain under the occupation.

On our side, we do our best to achieve peace. I have repeatedly stated that we are ready to grant a highest autonomy to the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan.

We cannot, however, agree with the demands of the Armenians on the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh or its incorporation into Armenia. We shall never allow anyone to harm the interests of Azerbaijan. Because such attempts are contradict to all the existing international norms and principles. It is unacceptable to legalize territorial aggressions in the moment world. Not any country should accept it regardless of where it takes place.

We shall further do our best for settling the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict peacefully, for withdrawing the Armenian forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and returning the Azerbaijani refugees to their homes, for restoring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. For reaching our fair goal, we cherish our hopes on the support and assistance of the international community, including our friends.

Let me once more express my confidence that our meeting in Tashkent will be an important turning point in the further development of the cooperation between the Turkic countries, in the ensuring peace and stability in our region. I fully support President Islam Karimov`s proposal on the formation of a permanent secretariat of our forum.

Thank you for your attention.

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