Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan has delivered a speech at the 7th Meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers of the Turkic Council.
"At the outset, I would like to extend my compliments to Kyrgyz Republic on the successful completion of the chairmanship-in-office of the Turkic Council, and express my gratitude for the contributions made to the broadening of cooperation within the Turkic Council during their chairmanship period.
It is my pleasure to welcome the distinguished delegations of friendly and brotherly countries, as well as the representatives of the affiliated organizations, participating in the 7th Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Turkic Council.
Also, I would particularly like to congratulate Uzbekistan, new Member State of the Turkic Council, and express our readiness to work with them on a wide range of policies and issues for the benefit of citizens of the Turkic Council Member States.
Azerbaijan hosts the 7th Summit of the Turkic Council in an important, even critical time when strengthening cooperation, concerted efforts and effective responses to the global risks and challenges play an immensely important role in attaining the goals and objectives of the Turkic Council. On our way towards strengthening institutionalized mechanisms and building new patterns of cooperation, the Summit is yet another opportunity to elaborate on regional and global developments, and explore new prospects for cooperation.
Since the signing of the Nakhchivan Agreement on October 3rd 2009, the Turkic Council has striven to promote comprehensive, mutually beneficial, and equitable cooperation among the Turkic Speaking States. Within the course of 10 years, since its establishment, the Turkic Council has also proven to be a fora in maintaining peace in the region, strengthening mutual confidence between the Member States, promoting regional and bilateral cooperation in all areas of common interest, as well as creating favorable conditions for trade and investment.
In this context, we strongly believe that there is a great scope for further deepening of cooperation and our concerted efforts in specific priority areas will definitely give new impetus to the regional partnership and inject fresh driving force to the Turkic Council.
The Turkic Council plays a unique role in promoting and preserving the historical heritage of Turkic speaking nations, as well as embracing our common culture, traditions, material and moral values. Therefore, the activities of International Organization of Turkic Culture/TURKSOY and Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation in the cultural and humanitarian spheres are worthy of appraisal in which Azerbaijan takes an active part.
It should be noted that during Azerbaijan’s chairmanship-in-office special attention will be attached to further development of economic cooperation among the Member States. Thus, the preparation of Turkic Council’s economic agenda, that covers priority areas and sets detailed and practical goals and objective, is an important part of the effectiveness of our actions. Strengthening the economic dimension of our cooperation will definitely consolidate and strengthen our resilience to political and economic turbulences in the world. Therefore, Azerbaijan gives great emphasis to the economic potential of the Turkic countries and highlights the importance of increasing mutual investments and exploring new economic projects.
Our country maintains strong political, economic, and humanitarian relationship with the Turkic Council Member-States and Observers. The intensification of cooperation between the Member-States and Observers to revitalize the historic Silk Road and improving it with new infrastructure projects are among the main pillars of our economic relationship.
Azerbaijan makes infrastructure investments that redraw the transport map of the Eurasian region. The new connectivity initiatives not only contribute to the regional integration, but also boost the cooperation between Turkic Council Member-States and the Observer state. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railway is an important component of the Trans-Caspian East-West Middle Corridor initiative and the increasing volume of the freight traffic will eventually contribute to economic development of our countries.
Furthermore, Azerbaijan supports the development of cooperation with Hungary, as an Observer State to the Turkic Council, and welcomes the opening of the Representation Office of the Turkic Council in Budapest on September 19, 2019. The cooperation between Hungary and the Member States of the Turkic Council is being successfully developed in a wide range of areas and we are confident that the Representation Office will serve as a facilitator in strengthening ties of Turkic Council with European institutions.
It is worth mentioning the importance of strengthening the cooperation between Turkic Council Member States in humanitarian sphere. The activities of Azerbaijan International Development Agency (AIDA) are of great significance in undertaking humanitarian endeavors in our region. In this respect, the "Conference on Promoting the Integration of Official Development Agencies of Turkic Speaking States to the International Aid System: Collaboration for Effective Humanitarian Aid and Development Assistance” was held on 11 October 2019 in Baku for the first time within the Cooperation Council of the Turkic Speaking States, with the participation of the official development agencies of the Member States as well as international organizations such as the Turkic Council, UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and UN Development Programme.
This event provided participating countries and international organizations with the opportunity to share their invaluable experiences and build new partnerships for an effective global and regional assistance. I am pleased that the Declaration of the Seventh Summit has referred to the conference and underlined its importance with a view of facilitating the integration of donor institutions of Member States into the global aid system.
Azerbaijan continues to suffer from the aggression of Armenia, which has occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territories. As a result, more than a million Azerbaijanis faced bloody ethnic cleansing on their historical lands and became refugees and Internally Displaced People. UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions 822, 853, 874, 884 demanded an immediate, unconditional and full withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. However, Armenia continues to disregard the UNSC resolutions and other documents of international organizations to cease its occupation and aggression.
I would like also to appreciate every country and Turkic Council for the demonstration of a principle position through condemning the aggression against Azerbaijan and urging Armenia to implement the aforementioned resolutions. In this regard, unequivocal support of the Turkic Council Member States for the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict on the basis of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, in accordance with the UNSC resolutions, is greatly appreciated.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Azerbaijan’s intention to further strengthen relationship with the Turkic Speaking States, both in bilateral and multilateral formats, while Turkic Council will continue playing significant role in bringing together the Turkic World. Our organization is so far comprised of 5 Member States with Uzbekistan’s recent accession. I am also confident that today’s meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers of the Turkic Council will be instrumental in strengthening cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, and will also enable us to take stock of the achievements and reflect upon how we, with shared vision and combined strength, should respond to the emerging challenges."