BAKU: Aliyev’s address to Turkish National Assembly

Azeri president praises ties in address to Turkish parliament

Space TV, Baku
14 Apr 04

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that relations with Turkey
are a priority to Azerbaijan. In his address to the Turkish Grand
National Assembly broadcast live on Azerbaijani Space TV, Ilham Aliyev
pointed out that his first official visit to this country would play a
great role in developing relations between the two nations. At the
same time, the Azerbaijani president noted the importance of regional
energy projects, saying that they would bring stability and security
to the region. Ilham Aliyev also touched on the Nagornyy Karabakh
problem and accused Armenia of occupying Azerbaijani territory and
violating the norms of international law. Azerbaijan will never put up
with the loss of its territory and will liberate it at all costs, he
said. The following is the text of the report by Azerbaijani Space TV
on 14 April; subheadings have been inserted editorially:

Dear Turkish Grand National Assembly!

Dear Mr Chairman! Dear MPs!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Dear friends!

Relations with Turkey priority

It is a great honour for me to address the Turkish Grand National
Assembly. I want to express my thanks to you for giving me this

This is the second day of my official visit to Turkey. I can already
say that this visit has been very successful. All our negotiations and
conversations convinced us again that friendly and fraternal relations
between Turkey and Azerbaijan are continuing, developing and
strengthening. These relations are a priority to Azerbaijan.

As you know, Turkey was the first to recognize Azerbaijan after it
gained its state independence. Since then, at all times, Turkey has
always sided with Azerbaijan and has always supported Azerbaijan. We
rate this very highly, and hope and are confident that from now on,
our fraternal countries will always side with each other. Our power is
in our unity. Turkey’s power is Azerbaijan’s power and Azerbaijan’s
power is Turkey’s power [applause].

Difficult years of independence

Over the last 12 years, since Azerbaijan gained its independence, it
has gone a very difficult way. In the first years of our independence,
our country faced great dangers. As a result of Armenia’s aggressive
policy against our country, Azerbaijan lost part of its territory. In
addition, the domestic situation was unstable and there was a reign of
instability. Thus, Azerbaijan was left face-to-face with great
disasters. After Azerbaijan’s national leader Heydar Aliyev returned
to rule Azerbaijan at the demand of the people in 1993, the situation
in the country gradually normalized and Azerbaijan managed to overcome
this crisis.

I can tell you that from 1993 to 1996, the domestic public-political
situation in Azerbaijan was very tense, several coup attempts were
made, a civic war had already started and illegal armed units were
taking illegal actions in Azerbaijan. And of course, a lot of efforts
were made in order to prevent all these unpleasant situations.

In 1996, I can say, stability was established in Azerbaijan. Since
that year, our country has been developing and strengthening its
potential, and our economy has been developing. From 1996 to 2003, our
economic growth reached 10 per cent per year on average. Last year’s
growth in the gross domestic product, the growth in the main indicator
of the economy, was 11 per cent. Over the last seven years, inflation
in Azerbaijan has been 2 to 3 per cent. According to the amount of
foreign investment per capita, Azerbaijan is the leader among the
former Soviet republics, and 17bn dollars have been invested in our
country over the last few years.

Economic reforms

Economic reforms are being successfully conducted in Azerbaijan, a
privatization programme is being implemented, land has been privatized
and other industrial enterprises and the services sector have been
almost completely privatized. Today the share of the private sector in
Azerbaijan’s GDP and economy accounts for 74 per cent. This goes to
show that market economy principles have been completely established
in Azerbaijan, the country is developing on the basis of market
economy principles and we are confident that Azerbaijan will benefit
greatly from this in the future.

At the same time, our policy is socially-orientated. Although
Azerbaijan is living in a new system now and is living a period of
transition from the communist system to a new system, in spite of all
this, great attention is being paid to social justice in
Azerbaijan. The main part of our budget revenue is channelled into
solving social issues. The payment of salaries, pensions, scholarships
and other social allowances and increasing them is a priority issue
for our government.

Political reforms

Political reforms are also being conducted successfully. Azerbaijan is
a modern and secular state. The process of democratization is being
successfully conducted in Azerbaijan. Our country has made great
progress in the sphere of protecting human rights. Our country is
quickly appropriating values common to all mankind and at the same
time, it is making its own valuable contribution to world
civilization. Azerbaijan has a very ancient history and very rich
cultural heritage. And of course, we are giving this heritage and
history to world civilization as a valuable contribution.

For more than three years, Azerbaijan has been a member of the Council
of Europe. Over this period, serious changes have taken place in our
country, and changes have taken place in our legislation, which, in
turn, makes our country even more democratic. Azerbaijan’s activities
in the Council of Europe have been very successful, and the Council of
Europe, in its official documents, has recognized Armenia as an
aggressor. This is our great success, and we believe that this will
prepare strong grounds for the future negotiating process.

At the same time, our relations with the European Union are developing
and strengthening. It is very pleasing that the European Union has
appointed its special representative in the South Caucasus, and this
shows that the European Union is increasing its attention to our
region. We are confident that the whole international community will
continue its successful cooperation with Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan
sees its future in integration into the world community and Europe.

We have many plans and programmes. The recently-adopted socioeconomic
programme of our country is being successfully implemented. At the
same time, the recently-adopted regional programme of our country is
being implemented as well and thus, Azerbaijan’s economy will develop
comprehensively. Azerbaijan will develop comprehensively and regions
will derive greater benefit from the implementation of this programme.

Important energy projects

Our country has wonderful prospects. As you know, the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, which is of great importance
not only to Azerbaijan, but also to the whole region and Europe at
large, is being successfully implemented, and we are sure that it will
be put into operation in time. The initiator and author of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline was Azerbaijan’s national leader
Heydar Aliyev. It is not by chance that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
company has named this pipeline after Heydar Aliyev. It is thanks to
Heydar Aliyev’s successful oil strategy that a great amount of
investment has been made in Azerbaijan and its oil sector. Azerbaijan
is independently conducting its policy without depending on anyone,
and at last we have achieved what we wanted – the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
oil pipeline has turned out of a dream into a reality [applause].

We encountered many difficulties and obstacles in this way. There were
great dangers to Azerbaijan’s future. But despite all this, the will,
resolve and courage of the Azerbaijani leadership and personally
President Heydar Aliyev prevailed over everything. We are sure that
after this oil pipeline is put into operation, the entire situation,
atmosphere and climate in the region will change and must change. This
pipeline will bring stability and security to our region and will link
Azerbaijan and Turkey even more closely. The positions of Turkey and
Azerbaijan in the world will get even stronger. That’s why we are all
looking forward to the commissioning of this pipeline, and we are sure
that we will mark the solemn opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil
pipeline in time – in the first quarter of the next year.

At the same time, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, which is of
great importance to our countries, is successfully progressing. This
project is being implemented as well and will enable us to transport
Azerbaijani gas to Turkey in a comfortable and secure way and send it
to other European countries from Turkey. Thus, Azerbaijani gas will be
of great importance to European consumers. On the one hand, this gas
will be cheaper than other gases because its transport expenses are
lower and on the other, an alternative source is very important for
every consumer, and we will provide this source. In a word, after the
implementation of all these large-scale regional projects in a few
years, Azerbaijan and Turkey will make successful headway together. No
cooperation – regional cooperation – is possible without Turkey and
Azerbaijan in the region. This is our great achievement [applause].

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

>From this point of view, in order to make the region even more secure
and eliminate danger, it is necessary to solve the
Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. This conflict has not
been solved for many years.

You know that as a result of Armenia’s aggressive policy, 20 per cent
of Azerbaijan’s territory are under occupation. As a result of this
occupation, over 1m of our citizens have become refugees. And
unfortunately, the international community is not being decisive. In
this situation, this conflict is not being resolved. Azerbaijan’s
position is fair and this position is based on the norms of
international law. The norms of international law should be restored.
Azerbaijan recognizes the territorial integrity of all other
countries, and of course we demand that our territorial integrity be
recognized and restored. This is our fair demand, and I am sure that
there have to be and will be achievements in this direction because we
live in the 21st century. In the 21st century, one country cannot
occupy the land of another country.

Armenia’s position is not based on any logic and violates all the
norms of international law. What is Armenia’s demand? In a nutshell,
their demand is that the Armenians of Nagornyy Karabakh should
determine their fate themselves. First, I have to say that the
Armenians living in Nagornyy Karabakh came to Nagornyy Karabakh, the
ancient Azerbaijani land, as guests. They came there in the 1820s and
in this connection, a monument was erected in the Nagornyy Karabakh
capital of Xankandi to mark the 150th anniversary of the Armenians’
arrival in Nagornyy Karabakh. This is the historical aspect of the
issue. Another aspect is that there is an Armenian state and the
Armenian people have already determined their status within the
framework of the Armenian state. If the Armenians want to determine
their status in all the countries they populate, how many Armenian
states will emerge in the world? Armenians live in Georgia, Russia,
America, France and other countries. Why, among all the countries they
populate, have they chosen Azerbaijan to determine their status? This
principle is against the norms of international law. If the Armenians
who live in Nagornyy Karabakh want to determine their status, let them
do so within the framework of the Armenian state. Nagornyy Karabakh is
Azerbaijani land, has always been Azerbaijani land and will be
Azerbaijani land in the future [applause].

Azerbaijan will never put up with the loss of its territories and will
liberate its lands at all costs [applause].

I am very pleased that our fair position is being accepted by the OSCE
Minsk Group which has been dealing with this issue in the recent
period. And I am confident that important steps can be taken in this
direction in the near future.

One nation, two states

Dear friends!

As I said, this is the second day of my official visit to Turkey as a
president. I have been to Turkey many times. I am very attached to
Turkey and love this country very much. I regard Turkey as my
homeland, but this is my first visit as a president and I was looking
forward to this visit. I can say with full determination today that
this visit will play a great role in developing relations between the
two countries and will turn into a new stage. Owing to the efforts of
our national leader Heydar Aliyev, relations between our countries
have risen to a very high level. Like in all the other spheres, I am
loyal to Heydar Aliyev’s policy in this sphere too, will continue this
policy, will not give up on this policy and will do everything
possible to base Turkish-Azerbaijani relations on principles of
friendship and fraternity.

Our historical roots and origin are the same. As Heydar Aliyev said,
we are one nation, two states. Our power is in our unity. I am
confident that from now on, at all times – 50, 100 or 200 years later,
our fraternal states will always be together.

Dear friends!

I want to express once again my profound thanks to you for giving me
this chance and for inviting me here. Long live the eternal and
irreversible unity and fraternity of Turkey and Azerbaijan! Long live
the great Turkish state!

Thank you.