Statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the reporters at the ceremony of signature of the Azerbaijani-Turkish documents - Ankara, «Chankaya» Palace March 12, 2001

Mr. President,

Dear friends,

Members of the press,

First part of my official visit to Turkey is coming to an end. Once again I express my gratitude to my dear friend, my brother, President of the Republic of Turkey Ahmet Necdet Sezer for inviting me to visit Turkey and for the kind hospitality. This visit is of great importance. Since we have analyzed the relations between our two countries, the issues relating to our region and the processes occurring in the world, once again confirmed that our opinions are the same and made statements on joint activities in the development of the Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation. It really gladdens me. Turkey for Azerbaijan is a strong, large and developed country living in democratic conditions. Turkey has always been an example for the young independent Azerbaijan and today it still is an example.

Mr. President has already informed you about the negotiations and the issues we discussed here. I do not want to take the time and repeat it. But I want to note that we share the same views in all matters. In particular, today, I once again felt the same attitude in both countries, Turkey and Azerbaijan, in the construction of the main export pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan. You can be confident that together we shall complete this work, which began in 1994, the Azerbaijani oil will flow through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline to Turkey and the Mediterranean in the coming years.

There has emerged a very important issue in our relations with Turkey recently. This issue is the joint development of large natural gas fields explored in Azerbaijan together with Turkey. In «Shah Deniz» deposit we have large reserves of gas. Being aware of this, we have an agreement with the Turkish government on the development and export of the most part of the produced gas to Turkey. Today, with a feeling of great satisfaction I note that this agreement is implemented into life and an intergovernmental agreement is signed on the sale of the natural gas produced in Azerbaijan to Turkey, as well as the a sale and purchase agreement. This is very important. Since the gas has to pass through the territory of Georgia. We have a gas line in the past laid from Baku to Georgia and we need to restore it. Thus, we need to know where to export the gas. Secondly, now we have signed that 6 billion cubic meters of gas will be delivered. But we can sell each year Turkey from 15 billion to 20 billion cubic meters of gas in future.

At the time, my dear friend, the ninth President Suleyman Demirel has repeatedly said that Turkey has a need to purchase 50 billion cubic meters of gas and more gas Azerbaijan will be producing, the more we shall buy. Now with the esteemed President Ahmet Necdet Sezer we laid a foundation. I think that it will be successful. Now we shall use the existing line, bringing the gas to the Turkish borders. Turkey should make necessary preparations in order to be able to get and use this gas in time.

But in future, we intend to create a new large pipeline for exporting gas to Turkey. Therefore, we have very wide horizons and perspectives. This will ensure the development of the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship and economic cooperation. At the same time, from a strategic point of view, it will make us closer to each other. We have built our relations with Turkey on the basis of strategic cooperation. We want to continue and develop these relations.

Once again, I want to express my satisfaction with the meetings we held and agreements signed today.

Mr. President, thank you again.