Ankara, Baku hail close ties as Azerbaijan marks 104th Republic Day

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Turkish officials reiterated their desire to further strengthen close ties between Ankara and Baku as scores of dignitaries visited Azerbaijan on Saturday on the occasion of the South Caucasus nation’s 104th Republic Day.

Speaking at the first foreign edition of Turkey’s main aviation, space and technology festival Teknofest, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the Turkish people regard Azerbaijan as their homeland, just like the Anatolia or Turkey proper.

The Turkish President said that Turkey and Azerbaijan have raised their bilateral relations to an exemplary level not only for the region but also for the world. “Turkey and Azerbaijan first became strategic partners and then strategic allies with the historic Shusha Declaration signed last year,” Erdoğan said.

Turkey strongly supports Azerbaijan’s efforts to establish a lasting peace with Armenia, he added.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev welcomed Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar to the presidential palace ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s arrival in Azerbaijan later on Saturday.

Akar was accompanied by several senior Turkish commanders, including the Chief of the General Staff, General Yaşar Güler, the Commander of the Land Forces, General Musa Avsever, the Commander of the Naval Forces, Adnan Özbal, and the Commander of the Air Forces. , General Hasan Küçükakyüz. Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and Turkish Ambassador to Baku Cahit Bağcı were also present at the meeting.

Akar sent his best wishes to Azerbaijan on Independence Day and briefed Aliyev on developments and ongoing work on military cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan and cooperation in industry of the defense.

Aliyev, for his part, said, “It’s a great pleasure to be with you on Independence Day.”

Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop also celebrated Azerbaijan’s Independence Day, sending a congratulatory letter to his Azerbaijani counterpart Sahiba Gafarova on this occasion.

In the letter, Şentop congratulated the brotherly people of Azerbaijan on the Independence Day on behalf of the Turkish nation.

“I wholeheartedly believe that the excellent relations between our parliaments will reach the highest level under the guidance of the understanding of ‘One Nation, Two States,'” Şentop wrote.

“Our current close cooperation is strengthened not only with bilateral formats but also with tripartite and multiple formats, and gives new impetus to parliamentary diplomacy.”

“Turkey regards Azerbaijan’s destiny as its own”

Separately in Ankara, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Saturday that Turkey would never consider its destiny separate from that of its longtime ally Azerbaijan.

Speaking at an event in the Turkish capital marking the 104th anniversary of Azerbaijan Republic Day (May 28) and June 26, Armed Forces Day, Oktay said Turkey and Azerbaijan are two “brother countries” who share a history, a culture, a pain and a joy.

“May Allah always preserve our brotherhood, unity and solidarity,” he said.

Emphasizing that Turkey and Azerbaijan today share the same spirit as a century ago, Oktay delved into history saying, “The spirit we carry is that of the brotherhood of Caucasus Islamic Army, which did not ignore the calls for independence from our Azerbaijani brothers. even as the Ottoman Empire waged its own national struggle on various fronts in World War I.”

On May 28, 1918, the Azerbaijani National Council declared the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, also known as the People’s Republic of Azerbaijan, at a meeting in neighboring Georgia.

Towards the end of World War I, on September 15, 1918, an elite Ottoman force led by Nuri Pasha (Killigil) called the Islamic Caucasus Army was sent to Azerbaijan in response to Azerbaijan’s call, with the Azerbaijani National Army and volunteer forces. , and liberated Baku from Armenian and Bolshevik occupation, paying the price in the lives of 1,132 people.

Oktay said that with their sacrifices and courage, the “heroes” under Nuri Pasha’s command left a “glorious legacy” in Baku that will be proudly told to generations to come.

Regarding the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, which was liberated from Armenia’s nearly 30-year occupation in the fall of 2020, Oktay stressed that they consider it their first duty to erase the scars of the occupation, to eradicate poverty and to raise the Azerbaijani flag everywhere as it did in its glory days.

In 1991, the Armenian army occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

Fresh clashes erupted in September 2020, and the 44-day conflict saw Azerbaijan liberate several towns and more than 300 settlements and villages that had been occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.

Also speaking at the event, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Turkey Rashad Mammadov spoke to guests, bureaucrats and representatives of foreign diplomatic missions in the country about the history of Azerbaijan.

Mammadov pointed out that after Azerbaijan regained its independence on October 18, 1991, it faced deep political, social and economic problems and Armenia occupied about 20% of the country’s territory, adding that more than one million Azerbaijanis had been forced to leave their homes and were subject to forced migration.

Noting that Turkey and Azerbaijan support and reinforce each other, Mammadov said: “Turkey has played an outstanding role in creating the current victorious Azerbaijani army, and our heroic soldiers and officers have received education and training. high-level training with their Turkish brothers. “

“Therefore, our victory in the 44-day (Karabakh) war can be considered a joint victory of Azerbaijan and Turkey,” he added.

Mammadov pointed out that Azerbaijan has invested $19 billion in Turkey and Turkey has invested $13 billion in Azerbaijan, adding that these investments have helped consolidate the two countries’ independence and reduce foreign dependence.

The envoy also said that 2022 also marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey.

“There is no precedent in the world for such interstate relations. As representatives of our state, we will do everything possible to further consolidate these relations and constantly raise them to a higher level,” he said. declared.

The event, which began with a minute of silence and the national anthems of Turkey and Azerbaijan, offered guests Azerbaijani cuisine accompanied by national folk music, dances and traditional performances.

Azerbaijan’s path to independence

A historic meeting on May 28 in the Georgian capital Tbilisi adopted Azerbaijan’s Declaration of Independence in six articles, making Azerbaijan the first parliamentary republic in the Muslim East. Mammad Amin Rasulzade was then chosen as leader of the newly formed republic.

As a beacon of hope for the Azerbaijani independence movement of the 20th century with its saying: “Once hoisted, the flag never falls!” Rasulzade played a key role in shaping modern Azerbaijani identity.

On June 4, 1918, friendly political, legal, commercial and military ties between Azerbaijan and Turkey were solidified shortly after the Treaty of Batumi, signed between the newly established Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the Ottoman Empire of the era.

With the pact, the empire recognized the independence of Azerbaijan, which could in return request its military aid in the event of a threat.

The newly founded state managed to form a national army on June 26, 1918.

After the republic’s declaration of independence in Georgia, Fatali Khan Khoyski, Azerbaijan’s first prime minister, formed the government in Ganja, now in northwestern Azerbaijan, in June, as he was not able to travel directly to the current capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, since the city was then controlled by Armenian militants and the Bolsheviks, a Marxist revolutionary party.

The Islamic Caucasus Army played a central role in the life of Azerbaijan, the liberation of Baku and the transformation of the city into a capital.

The liberation of Baku paved the way for the transfer of the capital from Ganja to Baku and the guarantee of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and laid the foundations of its contemporary borders.

Enver Pasha, then Ottoman Minister of War – also Ottoman General Nuri Pasha’s elder brother – personally conveyed the message to the Ottoman Empire that Baku had been liberated from Armenian gangs.

In December 1918, the first decision of the newly created Azerbaijani parliament was to place a monument for the “martyred Ottoman soldiers and officers” at the highest point of Baku.

Although the plan and sketches of the monument were prepared, the Soviet occupation in April 1920 did not allow its construction. The monument was finally erected in 1999-2000.

Azerbaijan first declared independence from the Tsarist Russian regime, but was overthrown after almost two years in 1920 by the Soviet Union.

Considered the first secular and democratic republic in the East, Azerbaijan has carried out reforms in many areas, including freedom of education, religion and conscience.

In its declaration of independence, the country granted equal rights to all citizens, regardless of race, religion, sect or gender.

As the heir to the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic, on October 18, 1991, Azerbaijan restored its status as an independent state.

Turkey was the first country to recognize Azerbaijan’s independence and Baku opened its embassy in Turkey in 1992.

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