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Azerbaijan’s defense minister meets with Turkish Chief of General Staff

Baku, August 18, AZERTAC

Azerbaijani Minister of Defense, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov, who is on a visit to Istanbul to participate in the International Defence Industry Fair IDEF-2021, has met with Chief of General Staff of the Republic of Turkey, Army General Yashar Guler.

During the meeting, the sides exchanged views on prospects for the development of military-technical cooperation and other issues of mutual interest.

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Министры иностранных дел Азербайджана и Турции обсудили текущую ситуацию в связи с миротворцами в Афганистане

Баку, 16 августа, АЗЕРТАДЖ

16 августа состоялся телефонный разговор между министром иностранных дел Азербайджанской Республики Джейхуном Байрамовым и министром иностранных дел Турецкой Республики Мевлютом Чавушоглу.

Как сообщили АЗЕРТАДЖ в управлении пресс-службы Министерства иностранных дел, министры обменялись мнениями по текущей ситуации в регионе и повестке двустороннего сотрудничества.

В ходе телефонного разговора стороны также обсудили совместную деятельность турецких и азербайджанских миротворцев в Афганистане, текущее состояние этой миссии.

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President Ilham Aliyev offers condolences to Turkish counterpart

Baku, August 13, AZERTAC

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has sent a letter of condolences to President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I have been deeply saddened by the news of casualties and destruction caused by floods in Kastamonu, Sinop and Bartin,” the head of state said in his message.

“On the occasion of this tragedy, on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan, I extend my deepest condolences to you, the families and the loved ones of those who were killed and the brotherly people of Turkey, and wish the injured recovery,” President Ilham Aliyev said.

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President of European Council Charles Michel attends presentation of number of projects in Shamakhi

Shamakhi, July 18, AZERTAC

On 18 July, after visiting the Shamakhi Juma Mosque, President of the European Council Charles Michel attended the presentation of a number of projects and familiarized himself with the activities of “Shirvan Wines” LLC in the village of Meysari.

AZERTAC reports that a presentation on the capabilities of the Baku International Trade Seaport was held for the President of the European Council.

Due to its modern infrastructure, carrying capacity and location, the port of Baku plays an important part as a transport hub between Europe and Asia and is important in the development and promotion of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route.

The port closely cooperates with the European Union and various projects have been implemented since 2016. In this context, there is an ongoing exchange of experience with European partners on digitalization, port operations, management, human resources, the establishment of a regional training center in the port, labor and environmental protection, and public relations. It was noted that a lot had been done in the field of “Green Port” and digitalization of operations, and this cooperation would be continued.

x x x

Then there was a presentation about the Silk Road and Alat Free Economic Zone. It was noted during the presentation that the main objective of the Alat Free Economic Zone, which was established last month and will cover a total area of 850 hectares, was to provide high added-value and export-oriented products in accordance with best management practices.

One of the primary goals was to attract investors providing services through innovative technologies, contribute to the dynamic and sustainable development of the country’s economy as a result of cooperation between these and Azerbaijani companies, as well as to create tens of thousands of jobs. The creation of this economic zone will pave the way for increasing government earnings and budget revenues and attracting new investment.

x x x

There was also a presentation of the EU-funded project on the “Expansion of the Community-Based Value Chain in the Greater Caucasus Mountains of Azerbaijan”. The high-ranking visitor was informed that the pilot area of the project, implemented by “Slow Food” in cooperation with the Azerbaijan Tourism Bureau, covers Sheki-Zagatala and five regions of the Mountainous Shirvan economic region – Shamakhi, Ismayilli, Gabala, Sheki and Gakh. “Slow Food” is an approach that promotes healthier nutrition based on delicious, clean and social principles, while also preserving the traditions of national and regional cuisine. The main goal of the project is to increase the income of local agricultural producers and contribute to the economic recovery of Azerbaijan’s rural communities by valuing gastronomic and cultural heritage.

After the presentation, there was a tasting of products.

x x x

President of the European Council Charles Michel also got acquainted with the activities of “Shirvan Wines” LLC in Meysari village of Shamakhi.

Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Anar Alakbarov informed the visitor that the total area of the viticulture and winemaking complex was 310 hectares. The winery with an area of 4,398 square meters was built on the basis of modern technology and provided with the equipment of French company “Pera”.

While reviewing the stand about the history of the plant’s construction, the President of the European Council was informed that the company’s goal was to produce 1.4 million liters of wine per year. Also, taking into account the tourism potential of the region, the organization of travel tours to the complex, and as a result, to contribute to wine tourism in Azerbaijan is one of the company’s goals.

President of the European Council Charles Michel tasted the wine produced at the enterprise.

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President of European Council viewed Shamakhi Juma mosque

Shamakhi, July 18, AZERTAC

As part of a working trip to Azerbaijan, President of the European Council Charles Michel has visited Shamakhi.

President of the European Council visited the Shamakhi Juma Mosque, one of the oldest Muslim temples in the South Caucasus and the Middle East.

Assistant to the Azerbaijani President Anar Alakbarov welcomed President of the European Council Charles Michel.

Imam of the mosque Marhamat Mustafayev informed the President of the European Council about the religious temple. It was stated that the mosque was built in 743. The Shamakhi Juma Mosque, one of the oldest Muslim temples in Azerbaijan, the South Caucasus and the Middle East, was built during the reign of Khalifa Khalid bin Waliyad in honor of his brother Muslim bin Waliyad.

The European Council President also visited the museum in the courtyard of the mosque. During familiarization with the museum, the visitor was informed that an act of genocide had been committed in Shamakhi in March 1918, which was part of the massacres committed by armed Armenian Dashnak groups. The worst massacre was perpetrated in the Juma Mosque. Seeing that the people of Shamakhi had taken refuge in the mosque as the house of God, the Armenians set fire to it and killed about 1,700 innocent people. The mosque, which was not used for its intended purpose during the Soviet era, was facing the threat of destruction.

It was noted that in 1980 this historical monument was renovated on the instructions and initiative of great leader Heydar Aliyev, who paid great attention to the development of Azerbaijan in all areas, including the protection of national and spiritual values. The overhaul of the Shamakhi Juma Mosque was part of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation’s “Address of Tolerance – Azerbaijan” project. The madrassas, cells and graves discovered during the restoration in the 1970s and 1980s were preserved. The ancient cells around the Shamakhi Juma Mosque State Historical-Architectural Monument have been restored and major landscaping work has been carried out. In 2013, the mosque was inaugurated after restoration with the participation of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

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Number of people who joined petition against Armenia over maps of minefields approaches 15 thousand

Baku, April 26, AZERTAC

A group of civil society organisations operating in the war-affected regions of Azerbaijan has filed a petition against Armenia on the world-famous website www.change.org . Well-known public figures, cultural figures, civil society representatives and human rights activists have recently joined the campaign to publicize and share the petition.

“The petition has aroused great interest in the international arena. The petition received 172,017 views. 23,227 people have shared the petition so far. In total, more than 500 comments have been written, all of which supported the legitimate demand of Azerbaijan. To date, 15,000 people have joined the petition. The petition has been joined not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, Pakistan, Canada, the United States, Hungary, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Malaysia, Germany, Turkey, Australia, Singapore, Burma and even South Africa and Kenya,” said Umud Mirzayev, President of the International Eurasia Press Fund, a key member of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with main Consultative status and one of the main initiators of the petition.

The petition calls for a protest against the nearly thirty-year occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions of Azerbaijan, as well as the serious mining of those territories and the refusal of Armenia to provide maps of mined areas after Armenian troops withdrew in the post-conflict period.

“Armenia knows where the mines have been laid, but refuses to disseminate this information under various pretexts,” the document says.

Thirty years later, Azerbaijani IDPs return and try to establish a new life for themselves in those mined areas. However, in the post-war period, more than 85 Azerbaijanis have been killed or seriously injured by landmines. ”

“The petition is a joint appeal of many people on www.change.org  to direct the world community, international organisations and media to the mine problem facing Azerbaijan. Thanks to our unity, this statistic, which is growing every minute, brings us closer to our goal, ” Umud Mirzayev emphasised.

Azerbaijani citizens and our friends living abroad can visit the following website and sign the petition:

– https://www.change.org/p/republic-of-armenia-urge-armenia-release-the-map-of-landmines-in-liberated-areas-of-azerbaijan-to-save-lives 

“By signing this petition, our call on Armenia to submit maps of mined areas can prevent the loss of many innocent lives. I urge all our compatriots to join the petition and share it. We call on our compatriots living in brotherly country Turkey, post-Soviet space and Europe to be more active,” the IEPF President Umud Mirzayev added.

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Tokayev sent telegram of condolences to Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov

NUR-SULTAN, 19 April 2021 (KAZINFORM) – Kazakh Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has sent a telegram of condolences to Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov over the passing of the latter’s father, Kazinform cites the Akorda press service.

On behalf of the people of Kazakhstan and on his own behalf, the Head of State expressed deep condolences to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan over the demise of his father Myalikguly Berdymukhammedov.

«The good memory of your father will forever remain in the hearts of his close ones and all his compatriots as a bright man, a wise mentor and a true patriot who dedicated his life to selfless service to the Motherland. Sharing the pain of an irreparable loss, I wish you and your family fortitude in this difficult time,» President Tokayev writes in his telegram.

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Azerbaijan to host Turkic Council meeting on Saturday

ISTANBUL

A meeting of senior communications officials of Turkic Council member states will be held on Saturday in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, according to the Turkish Communications Directorate.

In a Friday statement, the directorate said that the delegation from Turkey, chaired by its head Fahrettin Altun, will include Turkish Ambassador to Baku Erkan Zoral and Serdar Karagoz, the chairman and director general of Anadolu Agency.

“Meeting of Ministers and High Officials in charge of Information and Media of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council) will take place in Baku tomorrow with the participation of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Hungary,” the statement added.

Following opening remarks by Turkic Council Secretary General Baghdad Amreyev, Azerbaijani Vice President Hikmet Hajiyev will speak on behalf of the host country, it added.

Along with Altun, other speakers at the meeting will include Kyrgyz Culture, Information, Sports, and Youth Policy Minister Kairat Imanaliev, Uzbekistan Presidency Information and Mass Communications Agency head Asadjon Khodjayev, Kazakh Vice Minister of Information and Social Development Askhat Oralov, and Hungarian State Secretary for Security Policies Peter Sztaray.

“During the meeting, which will focus on developing an action plan to strengthen cooperation in the fields of media and information among member states, topics such as enhancing screen sharing among national television channels, developing film, series, and documentaries about shared history and culture, establishing an international Turkic news channel, and broadening the cooperation perspective will be discussed,” the statement added.

The 8th summit of the Turkic Council is set to be held in Istanbul, Turkey on Nov. 12 depending on the pandemic situation.

The council was established in 2009 as an intergovernmental organization with an overarching aim of promoting comprehensive cooperation among Turkic-speaking states.

It consists of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan as member countries and Hungary as an observer state.

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Reviving Silk Road to increase interaction: Erdogan

ANKARA

Turkey’s president on Thursday stressed the importance of revitalization of the historic Silk Road, telling it would increase interaction between the East and West. 

Speaking at the 14th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Leaders Summit, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey’s leadership in the revitalization of the historic Silk Road aiming at the Trans-Caspian East-West-Middle Corridor Initiative will increase the interaction between the East and West.

“We welcome this corridor through launching regular flights to China and from China to Turkey,” he said, adding that work on the resumption of Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad freight train expeditions has reached its final stage.

Underlining the importance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Erdogan said Turkey supports this initiative on a “win-win” basis. 

China’s BRI is an ambitious program to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors for improving regional integration, boosting trade, and stimulating economic growth.

Erdogan also drew attention to the significance of “strong” regional and global cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the “mandatory restrictive measures” were “undoubtedly accurate” for joint trade relations.

The summit was virtually held with the participation of leaders from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

ECO is a political and economic intergovernmental organization founded in 1985 in Tehran by Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey with a goal of sustainable economic development of member states, and the region as a whole. 

Afghanistan and former Soviet republics also joined the organization in 1992, forming one of the biggest regional blocs in Asia and beyond.

Cyprus issue

The Turkish president called on the ECO members to enhance relations in all areas with Northern Cyprus and support the Turkish Cypriots against the injustices they face.

The island of Cyprus has been divided into the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the north and the Greek Cypriot administration in the south since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation of the island was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.

Sanctions on Iran

On sanctions against Iran, Erdogan noted that all parties must return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and reassume their obligations under the plan.

He said the end of the unilateral sanctions will contribute to the economic prosperity and stability of the region.

During his term, former US President Donald Trump embarked on what he called a “maximum pressure” campaign that included unilaterally withdrawing the US from the 2015 nuclear deal world powers struck with Iran, and imposing biting economic sanctions that have hobbled the Iranian economy. 

In retaliation for the US move to reimpose sanctions, Tehran has taken successive steps away from its agreements under the JCPOA that it maintains are reversible, but vows it will not take such action until Washington lifts the sanctions imposed during the Trump administration. 

ECO 2025 Vision Document

Erdogan also said the implementation of ECO’s 2025 Vision Document is very important in terms of achieving common goals.

“We support the establishment of the Vision Fund to be used in financing the projects envisaged in the document,” he said, adding the reform process to transform the organization into a result-oriented structure must continue.

Turkey’s president also stressed that it “would be beneficial if the ECO Trade Agreement, which could not be implemented for 17 years, comes into force immediately.”

 Regional issues

Emphasizing that Turkey will never approve of anti-democratic interventions that disregard the people’s will, he said Afghanistan has entered a historical turning point of ending conflicts and establishing peace.

On fighting terrorism, he said international cooperation has maintained its importance during the pandemic. Turkey resolutely continues its fight against terror groups including Daesh/ISIS, YPG/PKK, and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), he added.

Regarding recent developments in the region, Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan.

“From now on, our priority is to help establish security and stability in Karabakh to eliminate the damage of the 30-year occupation together,” Erdogan said.

“I believe that we will be in full solidarity with Azerbaijan as an organization [ECO] in this process. We hope that Armenia will be a part of regional stability with the peaceful steps that it will take,” he added.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

When new clashes erupted on Sept. 27 last year, Armenia launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, and even violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

During the six week-conflict, which ended with a Russian-brokered truce, Azerbaijan liberated several strategic cities and nearly 300 of its settlements and villages from Armenian occupation.

The two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10 to end the fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution. Before the recent conflict, about 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory had been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

* Contributions by Aysu Bicer from Ankara

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Turkish president pushes idea of Islamic megabank

ISTANBUL / ANKARA

Turkey’s president on Thursday promoted the idea of an Islamic megabank, one which could meet the liquidity requirements of Islamic financial institutions as well as financing for infrastructure projects.

Addressing a meeting of the D-8 developing nations via video link, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also reiterated his push for expanded international trade via local currencies.

Since he first called for trade in local currencies at the D-8’s 2017 Istanbul summit, developments over the last four years proved the idea is trustworthy and sound, stressed Erdogan.

“To protect our countries from risks based on foreign currencies, we must focus on trading in local currencies,” he added.

On the D-8 Network for Research and Innovation, he called the network critically important, as it enables information sharing between universities and other institutions in fields such as renewable energy, artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things, big data, blockchain, and nanotechnology.

He stressed that D-8 countries should concentrate on high added-value production, based on high technology, for the sake of strong, sustainable growth.

Erdogan also stressed that the D-8’s members must update the bloc to better fit today’s needs, transforming it into a project and result-oriented structure.

Turkey hands over term presidency to Bangladesh

Erdogan also highlighted the importance of cooperation in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, stressing how Turkey helped 157 countries and 12 international organizations during the outbreak.

“We have clearly stated on every platform that the vaccine, which is our greatest weapon against the virus, should not be sacrificed to interests or the profit motive,” Erdogan said.

He added that once Turkey’s first locally produced COVID-19 vaccine is ready, it will be put in the service of all humanity.

On Turkey’s role during its D-8 term presidency, which concluded Thursday, Erdogan said it worked to strengthen the organization and to enhance regional cooperation.

During the summit, Turkey handed over the D-8 term presidency it has had since 2017 to host country Bangladesh.

Underlining the vast human potential in the member states’ over 1.1 billion young people, he said well-educated youth is key to being strong and influential.

Erdogan said Turkey supports UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ Youth 2030 strategy and strives to lead the goals in the framework of the strategy.

The Youth 2030 strategy aims to empower young people to realize their potential.

Erdogan said once a UN youth center project in Istanbul is completed, the center will be a platform that brings young people together within the organization.

The establishment of the Developing-8 bloc was officially announced on June 15, 1997, at the Istanbul Declaration of the Summit of Heads of State and Government.

The bloc includes Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Turkey.