From the conversation of the President of Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev with the chairman of Justice and Development Party of Turkey Rejeb Tayyip Erdogan and the delegation headed by him - January 7, 2003

Heydar Aliyev: Dear Mr. Erdogan!

Dear Ministers!

Dear guests!

You are welcome to Azerbaijan! Your present visit is very significant and valuable for us. Because the change of government took place in Turkey. We constantly watched closely the development of situation in Turkey since our hearts are with you. Therefore, today's visit I consider as an event which presents particular historical importance in Turkish-Azerbaijan relations.

Mr. Erdogan, I congratulate you heartily on the occasion of gaining of victory in the elections held in November last year and on the occasion of great victory of Justice and Development Party. This victory provided you with a large number of deputies in Great National Assembly and thus Justice and Development Party have got an opportunity to form a government in Turkey independently to come to power. This is an extremely remarkable event in the history of Turkey. Talking with you we made an excursion to the history. In former times such cases occurred very rarely. But each time, when the government was managed by forces, which came to power individually, Turkey raised and developed. Therefore, I think that the citizens of Turkish Republic having supported you with the majority of votes and elected you with such great success, naturally, they believed in you. I think that the party and the government established by you will justify their confidence.

Mr. Erdogan, I congratulate you particularly, as you are the chairman of the party, and owing to you the party has achieved great successes and this is an unusual event. At the present you know these problems better than others. You have opportunity to become a deputy for the time being, but even in this case the party which is established and headed by you has attained such respect of people and received so many votes that indicates to a very high estimation of your personal activity. I congratulate you. There is no doubt that you will become a deputy. I think you will be appointed as a prime minister and will head the government. However, I attach special importance to it because all this occurs within the frames of unusual process.

Mr. Erdogan, we follow your dynamic activity with big love in Azerbaijan after the victory gained by You. I welcome it because the Turkish Republic is one of the large countries of the world. The Republic of Turkey is a developed state and democratic country going on a way of market economy. This country is a member of NATO for many years. The government of such country, obviously, must be dynamic one. Your first steps and your activity in the field of entering of Turkey to the European Union, your activity connected with the problem of Cyprus, all these are the evidence that having received the mandate of prime minister, you will manage with this problems easily. I congratulate you. All this is pleasant.

We perceive your victory in Azerbaijan, a present way of development of Turkey, as a level on which we have risen ourselves. As friendly and brotherly relations existed at all times between Turkey and Azerbaijan. We have naturally ancient roots. But after gaining the state independence by Azerbaijan, Turkey was always the closest friendly and brotherly country to Azerbaijan. It is the same today. Today our relations have risen to a level of strategic cooperation. We cooperate in every sphere.

Naturally, one of the main fields - these are our joint decisions about construction in particular through the territory of Turkey which is connecting Turkey and Azerbaijan, the pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan for transportation to the world markets of rich natural resources of Azerbaijan, the resources of the Caspian sea, delivery of rich resources of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey and through Turkey to Europe and so on. This is the basis of our forthcoming work. There are a lot of good opportunities, and great perspectives ahead. We will make use of them together.

I greet you once again. You are welcome! In spite of the fact you will be in Azerbaijan in a short time, we shall try to create for you conditions so that you can do the maximum work. Please.

Rejeb Tayyip Erdogan: Dear President!

Dear ministers!

Thank you very much. It is a great pleasure and honor for all the members of our delegation to make a visit to brotherly Azerbaijan and to meet your Excellency. Today we are at home, naturally. I came to Azerbaijan ten years ago, and comparing today with the past, I see success and big development reached in Azerbaijan under the leadership of your Excellency. Azerbaijan has really passed very big way of changes, it has done huge commitments on the way of modernization. I am sure, that these transformations are example for the entire world. Between Turkey and Azerbaijan exist very ancient deep roots which need no explanation. First of all we are brothers. These brotherly roots, naturally, are proved in work of our businessmen in Azerbaijan, in favorable conditions created for them. However we wish to deepen this even more. If God pleases, owing to your care we shall achieve more. I trust in it. The main condition is that we have advanced and have developed it both in the policy, economy, and as well as in sphere of culture hand in hand. With the purpose of the further expansion of our priority relations and by virtue of that these areas are the basic spheres, those present here are Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Energy and Minister of Culture.

On November 3, naturally, Turkey has entered into the new period. Our people has given to us the right to be presented in parliament by 66 percent of seats. This feature is dictated by the election system. People has given of 34,4 percent of votes for us, and our party received 66 percent of seats in parliament. It, naturally, makes us much responsible. Realizing this responsibility, we as you have noted, first have manifested high dynamics in the relations connected with the European Union, within 20 days we have visited 14 countries - members of the European Union. We have made a visit to the United States America. Then have visited Russia. After this we decided, that it was time to visit Turkish Republics and we have begun these visits with Azerbaijan.

During the supper in a month of Ramadan I talked to your esteemed ambassador. I have said, that, if God pleases, in the nearest future we shall visit the Turkish Republics, and first of all Azerbaijan. Today I have told him, that we are about to implement this visit. We shall go to Turkmenistan from here, then to Kazakhstan and thus we shall finish the first tour. And then, if God pleases, we shall begin the second tour.

The brotherly ties nourish not only our past, but also our future. In fact the relations between brothers have no time boarders. We wish to carry our solidarity, our unity and our equality into the future with great love. Since we are in need of each other, to be able to accomplish it.

As I have already said, I wish if god pleases, the Baku - Tbilisi - Ceyhan was ready not in 2005, but earlier. There is also our Minister of Energy. It is necessary to finish it ahead of time by making greater efforts and working day and night because, we have to compete and cope with time.

Heydar Aliyev: Fine.

Rejeb Tayyip Erdogan: Yes, we shall compete with time, it is necessary to finish this work as soon as possible. At the same time we should stir up even more our activity in the field of culture. We have common culture. It is necessary to make it richer. Because the culture is a culture, you are missing from this world from the point of view of culture.

Azerbaijan is very rich in this sphere. During my work as the head of municipality, I supported very close relations with Azerbaijan. Your respected minister knows about it. If God pleases, we shall continue and develop it in the future. Now this work is underway and will be continued.

Apartfrom the power sector, we intend to continue our contacts also in the field of internal affairs, here is our esteemed Minister of Internal Affairs, they have got much rich experience, we shall carry out together our activity aimed at the future.

Dear President, I thank you once again that you have found very valuable time to receive our delegation. I wish our present meeting will be of benefit in our forthcoming joint work. Thank you.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you very much.

"Azerbaijan" newspaper, January 8, 2003