OTS informal summit kicks off in Azerbaijan's Shusha

  06 July 2024    Read: 1064
 OTS informal summit kicks off in Azerbaijan

An Informal Summit of Heads of State of the Organization of Turkic States kicked off in Azerbaijan's Shusha city, AzVision.az reports. 

President Ilham Aliyev first welcomed the heads of state and government participating in the summit. 

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Zhaparov, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, Vice President of the Republic of Türkiye Cevdet Yilmaz, President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Ersin Tatar, Secretary General of the Organization of Turkic States Kubanychbek Omuraliev are attending the summit. 

The head of state addressed the event.

Speech by President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear heads of state and government,

Dear friends,

Allow me to extend sincere greetings to all of you. Welcome to Azerbaijan, welcome to Karabakh!

Thank you for supporting my initiative to hold annual informal summit of the Organization of Turkic States, as well as for accepting our invitation to visit Shusha.

Enhancing relations with Turkic countries and strengthening the Turkic world and the Organization of Turkic States are Azerbaijan's foreign policy priorities. Azerbaijan has always made efforts to strongly unite the Turkic world, increase its political, economic and military power, and transform it into an influential global entity.

The Organization of Turkic States should become one of the prominent international forces. We cover a vast geography with positive demographic dynamics in the Member States. Our military capability has repeatedly proven itself on the battlefields. Our abundant natural resources and modern infrastructure for their delivery, transport corridors connecting Central Asia and the Caucasus with Mediterranean and Black Sea ports, our rich and ancient history and culture are our great assets. The commitment of our peoples to traditional values and their shared ethnic roots closely bind our countries. The 21st century must be a century of progress of the Turkic world.

Holding today’s Summit in Shusha acquires symbolic meaning after Azerbaijan has fully restored its territorial integrity and sovereignty on September 20 last year.

The city of Shusha, the crown jewel of Karabakh, has always been one of the important centers of the cultural, public and political life of Azerbaijan and the region.

The occupation of Shusha by Armenia in May 1992 was a significant tragedy for the Azerbaijani people. The people of Azerbaijan never came to terms with this occupation and always lived with a desire to return to Shusha and the remaining occupied territories, a goal they have now achieved.

In 2020, during the 44-day Patriotic War, the Azerbaijani army liberated more than 300 towns and villages on the battlefield that had been under Armenian occupation for nearly 30 years. On November 8, 2020, following the liberation of Shusha, Armenia was forced to sign the act of capitulation, which ended the Second Karabakh War. November 8 is celebrated every year in Azerbaijan as a Victory Day.

By my decree, the city of Shusha was declared the cultural capital of Azerbaijan in 2021. On the occasion of 270th anniversary of the foundation of Shusha by Panah Ali Khan of Karabakh, 2022 was declared a Year of Shusha in Azerbaijan. The city of Shusha was declared Cultural Capital of the Turkic World for 2023 by TURKSOY and the Cultural Capital of the Islamic World for 2024 by ISESCO.

The Shusha Declaration, which laid the foundation for the allied relations between Azerbaijan and Türkiye, was signed in 2021 by my brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan and myself exactly here in Shusha.

The Karabakh Declaration will also be signed today in Shusha.

Dear Colleagues,

Today, the Great Return Program is in progress in Karabakh and East Zangezur. During the occupation, Armenia razed all the towns and villages in these areas to the ground. Life is returning to these lands now.

To date, around 8,000 former IDPs have returned to the cities of Lachin, Fuzuli, Shusha and Khojaly, as well as to four villages within the framework of the Great Return Program. By the end of this year, 20,000 people will return to the liberated lands.

The visits by the leaders of Turkic States to the liberated lands are a manifestation of brotherly solidarity. The President of Türkiye has visited Shusha, Fuzuli, Zangilan and Jabrayil, the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have been to Shusha and Fuzuli, while the President of Kyrgyzstan has visited Fuzuli and Aghdam.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to once again express my gratitude to the heads of state and government of the brotherly countries for the school and creativity center, as well as for the schools to be built in the future which represent our brotherhood.

Dear friends, I believe that the current budget of the Organization of Turkic States is insufficient for the realization of and its present structure does not correspond to our goals. With this in mind, Azerbaijan has recently made financial contribution in the amount of 2 million U.S. dollars to the Secretariat of the Organization.

The expansion of the East-West transport corridor is one of our top priorities. In the last five years, the volume of cargo transportation through the East-West transport corridor has increased by more than 60 percent.

The annual handling capacity of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, an integral part of the Middle Corridor, has been increased from 1 million to 5 million tons thanks to additional investments by Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan, with the fleet of more than 50 commercial ships in the Caspian Sea, provides important transit services for Turkic states. In light of the increasing cargo transportation, six tankers and dry cargo vessels are currently under construction at the Baku Shipyard. Next year, our country’s ninth international airport will be commissioned in Lachin. The cargo handling capacity of the Alat International Trade Seaport will be expanded from 15 million to 25 million tons.

Founding meeting of the Turkic Investment Fund in Istanbul this May is yet another successful step serving to further deepening our economic ties. I do believe that in the future investments in a number of joint projects across many fields will be made through this Fund.

Our strategic partnership in the field of energy, including cooperation in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency, is very important.

The Digital Silk Road Project, which aims to create a fiber-optic telecommunication route between Europe and Asia via Azerbaijan along the Caspian seabed, is also one of the significant initiatives.

Dear friends,

As you know, Azerbaijan will host the COP29 this year. I would like to take this opportunity to once again invite all of you to the COP29. We view holding the COP29 Presidency and organizing this conference in Baku as a vivid testimony to the international community’s enormous confidence in our country. Almost 200 countries unanimously supported our candidacy. Drawing on the experience we have gained during the four-year-long chairmanship to the Non-Aligned Movement, Azerbaijan will spare no effort to strengthen solidarity and reach consensus between developed and developing countries.

I am sure that the Karabakh Declaration that we will sign today and the decisions we have made will further strengthen solidarity in the Turkic world, while enhancing the reputation of the Organization of Turkic States in the international arena.

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Then, other heads of state made their speeches.




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