Speech by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the high-level signing ceremony of the treaty on cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey on oil sector – Gulustan Palace, April 12, 1995

Distinguished Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic Mrs. Tansu Çiller!

Ministers of the Turkish Republic, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen!

Turkish Prime Minister Mrs. Tansu Çiller has made a short working visit to Azerbaijan. The goal of the visit is to conduct negotiations and to sign the treaty between State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SCOAR) and Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı on exploitation of oil fields on the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. On my and your behalf, I welcome famous Turkish politician, our dear friend Mrs. Tansu Çiller, who is the first Turkish Prime Minister to have visited Azerbaijan, and thank her for this visit.

As you know, the so-called "Contract of the Century" was signed here in Gulustan Palace on September 20, 1994. That contract implies joint exploitation of three oil fields – Azeri, Chirag and Guneshli on the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea by big companies of the world. The Turkish company also takes part in the contract. It got 1.7% of shares in the project when the contract was signed. It means Turkey has been participating in the contract for a long time. Later we thought of 20% of shares Azerbaijan had. Turkey had relevant appeals to us. My dear friend President Suleyman Demirel sent me a letter with a special appeal. Prime Minister Mrs. Tansu Çiller also had an appeal to me. Taking into consideration those appeals and fraternal and brotherly relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan decided to cede 5% of its share to Turkey. Relevant negotiations have been conducted and certain documents have been prepared. Today we have assembled to sign those documents. Now I would like President of SOCAR Natig Aliyev and President of "Türkiye Petrolleri" Sidki Sancar to sign the documents.

Distinguished Prime Minister Mrs. Tansu Çiller!

Distinguished ministers, guests, ladies and gentlemen!

I can say that a historical event is happening at Gulustan Palace today. The contract on exploitation of the oil fields on the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea is extending. Brotherly Turkey and its oil companies join our contract that was signed for 30 years. This issue is being solved by signed contracts. I congratulate all of you, especially our guests from Turkey and Prime Minister Mrs. Tansu Çiller on this occasion. I am confident that it will be a big step for developing fraternal and brotherly relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

These relations have a centuries-old history. Our roots, traditions, and history are the same. They all led us to co-existence and co-defense of our lands. It has been yielding its results recently. Our peoples who share the same root, and who, according to Mrs. Tansu Çiller, are children of one mother are moving forward together after 70 years. Isolation has hurt us very much and created a lot of difficulties, but still couldn`t separate us completely. Our historical relations have been restored within a short time. Our fraternity and friendship has been shown to the whole world.

At present, Azerbaijan is the closest ally of Turkey. Sharing the same root, religion and culture is a basis for our present and future. Since last year we have been celebrating the 500th anniversary of the great poet of Turkic nations Muhammad Fuzuli. This anniversary is solemnly being celebrated in Azerbaijan, Turkey and in other Turkic-speaking nations. It shows we were together even 500 years ago. We have such a great poet as Fuzuli who left a rich cultural heritage to us. Enjoying this cultural heritage, present generations in Turkey and Azerbaijan strive to develop our culture, science and lifestyle.

Azerbaijan is a young independent state. We have been independent for slightly over 3 years. I want to note with a great pleasure that when struggling for independence Azerbaijan was always supported by Turkey. As Azerbaijan declared its independence, Turkey was the first country to have recognized our independence, thus opening a path for Azerbaijan`s worldwide recognition.

Mrs. Tansu Çiller remarked that Azerbaijan uses service of Turkish representations and embassies since we don`t have our own missions abroad. I am grateful that representatives, envoys and ambassadors of the Turkish Republic always assist Azerbaijan`s representatives, support and help us in solution of all issues at international organizations related to our country.

Azerbaijan has been target of Armenian aggression for over seven years. Armenia attacked Azerbaijan in order to occupy our lands and annex Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian armed forces could somehow occupy part of our lands. 20 per cent of our territory is currently under Armenian occupation. More than one million Azerbaijan citizens were expelled from the occupied areas and have become refugees. Back then Azerbaijan really needed help to disseminate the truth to the world community about Armenian military aggression. Turkey has always held a strong, principal position on Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, supported us, condemned Armenian aggression, and treated Armenia as an aggressor.

It is all natural. We are fraternal and friendly nations and our present relations invite us to continue like this. People in Turkey are well aware of respect to Turkey in Azerbaijan. Our relations, especially in economic, educational, scientific, cultural and other fields are constantly developing. It is necessary for present and future of both Azerbaijani and Turkish peoples.

Today we signed the contract. I think the Turkish investment in our oil sector and Turkey`s active participation in this contract are economically beneficial for both Azerbaijan and Turkey. But its moral significance for present and future of our nations, for developing and strengthening mutual relations is invaluable. In my opinion, it is the basis of the contract that was just signed.

According to the contract, oil will be extracted, used and exported from Azeri, Chirag and Guneshli on the Caspian Sea within 30 years and will benefit Azerbaijani economy a lot. Of course, we also face an issue of oil export. We conduct negotiations on it. In our opinion, it would be more suitable for us to have a pipeline to export oil run through Turkey. We have already expressed our opinion and will further do so.

A new step was taken for further development of relations between our nations. I congratulate all of you on this occasion once again.

Distinguished Mrs. Çiller, I congratulate you and thank you for your respect, aid and sincere attitude to the Azerbaijani people. I assure you that the Azerbaijani people love you as Turkish Prime Minister, a scientist and a public figure and are pleased with your visit. I am sure that you will always be loved and respected in Azerbaijan.

Your visit is very short. I have invited you to pay a formal visit and we will look forward to your extended formal visit to Azerbaijan. I congratulate you once again, wish you good luck. I express my respect and esteem to the Turkish people. I send the best regards of the Azerbaijani people from here, Gulustan Palace, the Caspian shore to Ankara, Istanbul and the entire Turkey.