Ankara-Baku ties mark level of strategic alliance (FM Bayramov)

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“Turkish-Azerbaijani relations have reached the level of strategic alliances. However, we have a long way to go and goals to achieve,” Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said at the 13th Ambassadors’ Conference in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

Citing Turkey’s growing role as an international player and its diplomatic successes, the head of Azerbaijan’s diplomacy said on Monday that Turkey “has become one of the leading countries in the development and implementation of innovations in diplomacy, as in many other fields”.

Noting that there have been rapid and serious changes in the international system over the past 30 years, Bayramov said these developments actually show turmoil and dissatisfaction in the international system.

“The growing social injustice and disregard for human values ​​in the current international system, especially in a crisis situation, is another factor that worries all of us today. We saw the most obvious example of this during of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been a serious test for our humanity,” he added.

Bayramov hailed the ties between the two countries and hailed Turkey’s role on the international stage.

“We welcome Turkey’s transformation into a leading and central country in diplomacy, and we consider your success as ours,” he said.

Bayramov added that Turkey marked its place in history as a country that upholds truth, righteousness and justice through its political and diplomatic support for Azerbaijan when it liberated its lands from occupation. .

Relations between the two former Soviet countries have been strained since 1991, when the Armenian army occupied 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 occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.

Türkiye was a key supporter of Azerbaijan during the 44-day Nagorno-Karabakh war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which broke out on September 27, 2020 and ended in a ceasefire brokered by Russia and significant Azerbaijani gains on November 10.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday that the international community “unfortunately” remained silent when Azerbaijani territories were occupied by Armenia until the fall of 2020, when, with the help of Turkey, the Azerbaijan regained its lands.

“To put an end to this injustice, Turkey’s support was extended to the Azerbaijani armed forces. Through an epic struggle that lasted 44 days, Karabakh regained its freedom and the 30-year occupation ended,” he added. said, referring to the fall 2020 conflict.

“With the agreements reached, a new era has begun in the South Caucasus. We are working hard to ensure that this historic opportunity is not wasted.”

Turkey and Armenia have since taken “significant steps” towards peace in the Caucasus and appointed representatives to normalize relations, Erdoğan said.

“I believe that our region will be stabilized in a short time if Armenia reads the developments correctly and responds to the sincere appeals of Azerbaijan and Turkey,” he added.

During last week’s outbreak of violence between the Caucasian nations of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also said that Türkiye “once again warns Armenia not to engage in new provocations”.

When Azerbaijan in the fall of 2020 liberated the Karabakh territory occupied by Armenia for almost three decades, Çavuşoğlu said, Turkey stood up for justice and supported the just and truthful side.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian discussed developments in Karabakh and security issues on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in a phone call on Monday, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Last week, the Kremlin called for restraint on both sides after Azerbaijan said its forces foiled an Armenian attack near Karabakh, formerly called Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan announced it had regained control of several strategic locations in the Karabakh region, in a further escalation after Armenia attacked and killed an Azerbaijani soldier.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly highlighted Armenia’s non-compliance with the provisions of the November 10, 2020 agreement signed by the two nations plus Russia, drawing particular attention to the fact that Armenian armed groups have not not yet withdrawn from the Azerbaijani territories of Karabakh, according to a statement from the ministry. .

In January 2021, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a pact to develop economic ties and infrastructure for the benefit of the entire region. It also included the creation of a trilateral task force in Karabakh.

After the end of the conflict, Azerbaijan launched a massive reconstruction initiative in the liberated region of Karabakh.

In July, Azerbaijan began the process of returning its people to lands recaptured from Armenian forces in what Baku calls “the great return”. The oil-rich country has pledged to repopulate the reclaimed lands.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev had promised for years to recover land lost in the 1990s and the first restitutions marked a symbolic moment for Azerbaijan.

On June 15, 2021, Turkey and Azerbaijan also signed a declaration “on allied relations” aimed at deepening ties in several areas of cooperation, including security, during a visit to Shusha, a city that the Azerbaijan liberated from the occupying Armenian forces in the conflict. The city, known as the pearl of Karabakh, was occupied by Armenia on May 8, 1992.

The statement emphasizes defense cooperation and the establishment of new transport routes, affirming the joint efforts of the two armies in the face of foreign threats, as well as the restructuring and modernization of their armed forces.

Ankara has frequently called for a six-nation platform comprising Turkey, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia for permanent peace, stability and cooperation in the region, saying that this would be a win-win initiative for all regional players in the Caucasus. .

Türkiye believes that permanent peace is possible through mutual security-based cooperation between the states and peoples of the South Caucasus region.

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