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Fourth Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States was held in Bodrum

The Fourth Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States has been held in Bodrum on June 5.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the summit.

President of Turkey Abdullah Gul welcomes President Ilham Aliyev and other heads of state attending the summit.

Then the Presidents posed for collective photos.

Welcoming the Presidents attending the summit again, Turkish President Abdullah Gul pointed to the major role of the organization in the expansion of relations among Turkic states. He said that the communication among heads of state within the organization was very effective, which, in turn, contributes to the development of bilateral relations. Noting that the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States established at the Nakhchivan summit in 2009 had covered a long road of development over this period, Abdullah Gul said that this summit was devoted to tourism. He stressed that this direction would play an important part in the expansion of cooperation among our countries.

Then President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev addressed the summit.

Speech by President Ilham Aliyev

- My dear brother, dear President Abdullah Gul,

Distinguished heads of state,

Dear friends!

Mr. President, first of all I would like to thank you for the hospitality we have enjoyed and the high level of organization of the summit.

I can say that today we are passing chairmanship over to Turkey. A year ago in Gabala, we took chairmanship over from Kyrgyzstan and over the course of this year tried to make the Council's work successful. I believe that the work done over the year will further strengthen our unity. Of course, I wish Turkey every success in its chairmanship in the next period.

Our cooperation in various areas has continued in different directions over this period. Today I would just like to mention a few points. During the year, a meeting of foreign ministers was held within the framework of the UN Assembly. It was an important step in addressing political issues of the Council. At the same time, the work done in the economic sphere is commendable. A business forum has been held.

Important steps have been taken to improve the activities of Diaspora organizations. Meetings of education and transport ministers have been held. I am very glad that Azerbaijan has initiated the establishment of a Foundation of Turkic culture and heritage. I am sure that the Foundation will provide good opportunities for various projects and activities related to culture, art and our common history.

At the same time, I should note that last year in Gabala the Azerbaijani side suggested that we make joint stands in international tourism exhibitions. I am glad that the first step has already been made. A joint stand of member-countries of the Cooperation Council was displayed at the Baku International Tourism Exhibition. So that is the first step. I believe that in the coming years we should demonstrate our joint tourism potential in other countries. This is also important for our unity, as it would be a manifestation of our unity and an important step in practical terms. During our conversation yesterday we had an exchange of views on this.

Today I particularly want to commend the work of TURKSOI. TURKSOI is an organization that unites us spiritually, in the field of culture. Our unity, of course, is underpinned by common roots, a common culture and history, and we are establishing excellent cooperation on this solid foundation today. Therefore, we will do everything possible to strengthen the activities of TURKSOI in the future.

Of course, with regard to political issues there is a great need for mutual support in international organizations. I am very glad that we support each other in organizations we are members of. In particular, we feel and see each other’s support in the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the ECO.
At the same time, the activities of the Cooperation Council member-countries in some organizations we are not members of are also very important. Today I want to highlight what distinguished Nursultan Nazarbayev has done. At a recent inaugural meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union in Astana he expressed the concern of the Azerbaijani side in connection with Armenia's membership in the organization. We want to express our gratitude to distinguished Nursultan Nazarbayev for that. The Azerbaijani people appreciate that. It was a step of true friendship and brotherhood. At the same time, this step is based on justice and international law, because the borders of countries recognized by the international community and the UN are inviolable. Territorial integrity is inviolable. Territorial integrity is the main issue reflecting the sovereignty of each country.

As you know, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan has been violated for many years. Armenia is conducting an aggressive policy against Azerbaijan. As a result of this policy, 20 per cent of our land is under occupation, there are more than a million refugees and displaced persons. We have been subjected to a policy of ethnic cleansing, the Khojaly genocide has been perpetrated. Today, 10 countries have officially recognized the Khojaly genocide as an act of genocide.

The position of international organizations on the issue is well known. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions demanding an unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from Azerbaijani lands. Unfortunately, these resolutions have not been fulfilled yet. The Non-Aligned Movement, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – all these influential organizations have supported justice, international law and, in fact, the position of Azerbaijan through their decisions and resolutions. Unfortunately, the aggressor country ignores all this and the occupation continues. This issue can only be solved on the basis of norms and principles of international law. Four UN Security Council resolutions must be implemented unconditionally. The territorial integrity of our country must be restored and our fellow countrymen must return to their native lands even though everything is destroyed there. Two OSCE fact-finding missions have visited the occupied lands and stated in their reports that everything is completely destroyed. The Armenians have also brutally desecrated all our historical and religious monuments.

This conflict poses a huge regional threat, while at the same time creating major problems for us economically. Despite this, the Azerbaijani economy has been experiencing successful development in recent years. I think we need to further deepen the economic cooperation within the Council. The implementation of investment projects is of ​​particular importance in this area. I can say that Azerbaijan has now started making major investments in Turkey. In the next five to six years the volume of these investments will be at least $20 billion. I believe that mutual investment will ensure our interests and at the same time further strengthen our unity.
I think that the business forums, the exploration of investment opportunities and access to third countries with joint investment projects are among notable issues for the next period.

At the same time, Azerbaijan is working on strengthening the unity of our transport infrastructure. The construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is a historic event. I am sure that this railway will be opened next year. Thus, we will revive a new Iron Silk Road. The implementation of this project will bring additional benefits to all members of the Council. I am very pleased that the existing seaports are being expanded in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. At the same time, new trade ports are being built in the Caspian, so that we can be fully prepared for the growing freight traffic in the future. The construction of ports and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, the increase of trade and the transportation of existing and new cargo along this road will enhance our economic interests and, at the same time, enrich our work with concrete activities.

The cooperation in the energy sphere is also successful. Today, Azerbaijan provides for the transportation of petroleum products and oil from the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea to the West, thus playing a transit role. After the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, this role will increase even more. We intend to deepen our cooperation in the energy sphere. There are all the possibilities for that. The geography linking us is fairly broad. Some of our countries are rich in natural resources. These resources are already delivered to world markets by various routes. So Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have independent and diversified export routes. No country has problems related to exports. But in order to fully meet our interests and strengthen our unity, we have to take and I am sure will take joint measures in this area.

Thus, our cooperation will become even stronger in the coming years. We will make new initiatives. I think that at some point we need to think of creating a joint investment fund, because the financial situation of our countries is very stable and good. We are not experiencing any problems. We have even begun providing loans to other countries.

I should note again that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to its activities in the Council. We are very pleased that the Council has already become a strong international organization. I am confident that under the chairmanship of brotherly Turkey we will achieve new successes. Thank you.