A trilateral mechanism between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan has made significant contributions to the prosperity and stability of the region, the foreign minister of Turkey said on Tuesday.
“Our relationships built on special bonds have turned into a comprehensive partnership today. This trilateral mechanism, which we initiated in 2014, has made a significant contribution to the prosperity and stability of the region,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a joint press conference with his Azerbaijani and Turkmen counterparts.
Underlining that the meeting had been fruitful, Cavusoglu said the delegations reviewed the steps they had taken so far and voiced important ideas and proposals for the future.
He stressed that Turkey wants to work closely with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan as part of its Asia Anew initiative.
Turkey launched the initiative in 2019 to improve ties with Asian countries in various areas.
The ministers also discussed and determined a roadmap for an upcoming trilateral summit of the presidents of the three countries to be held in Turkmenistan, he added.
During the press conference, Cavusoglu also spoke about the “brutal competition” across the world for COVID-19 vaccines.
“We will continue our solidarity as three sister countries, while continuing our common struggle,” he said.
“Our relations have turned into a comprehensive partnership today,” Cavusoglu said on Twitter, adding that cooperation between the three countries would “continue to increase in every field including transportation and energy.”
During the meeting, the ministers signed a joint declaration that emphasized the importance of the trilateral mechanism to enhance multilateral cooperation opportunities.
They agreed to strengthen commercial and economic cooperation, as well as to use their existing potential to encourage investment and trade, and to carry out joint projects and programs including energy, transportation, agriculture, tourism and the environment.
‘Highest level relations’
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said they also had the chance to separately discuss bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey.
“Azerbaijan-Turkey relations are developing at the highest level in all areas,” he said, adding that bilateral ties continue to grow stronger by the day under the leadership of the two countries’ presidents.
The foreign ministers exchanged opinions on trade, energy, customs, transportation, security and agriculture fields during the meeting, he said.
Bayramov underlined that his country felt the “political and moral support” of the Turkish leadership and nation during the recent 44-day war with Armenia over the occupied Karabakh territories.
The clashes that erupted on Sept. 27 last year ended with a Russian-brokered truce nearly six weeks later. Baku liberated several strategic cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from Armenian occupation in that period.
“This support gave us extra strength and morale,” he said, stressing that the region’s new security format had been determined following the war.
Noting that the Turkish-Russian joint monitoring center had begun its operations in the region, Bayramov underlined Turkey’s role in achieving “sustainable peace.”
He also hailed Ankara’s support in minesweeping activities in the liberated territories and said that Turkey would also take part in the region’s reconstruction.
Bayramov also took note of an earlier deal with Turkey in which Azerbaijan, for the first time in its history, agreed to passport-free travel with Turkey.
On Dec. 10 last year, Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a protocol allowing mutual passport-free travel for nationals of both sides.
“The Azerbaijan-Turkey alliance is eternal. This was established on the basis of unity, friendship, brotherhood, strategic partnership, and mutual respect.”
Bayramov also said joint exploration and development of hydrocarbons in the Dostlug (Friendship) field in the Caspian Sea between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan would provide a positive contribution to the energy security of Turkey and other European countries.
The agreement on the joint exploration of the once-disputed section of the undersea hydrocarbon field was signed in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat on Jan. 21.
It is estimated that the field located in the middle of areas belonging to Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan hosts reserves of 100 billion cubic meters (over 3.5 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas and 60 million tons of oil.
Rashid Meredov of Turkmenistan hailed the trilateral gathering as a “historic meeting,” noting that Turkey and Azerbaijan have always supported Turkmenistan’s initiatives in the international arena.
“Our Turkish and Azerbaijani brothers always support the initiatives put forward by the President of Turkmenistan [Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov]. We are hopeful that it will continue so in the future,” he said.
He emphasized that the three “brotherly” countries share a common culture, history, language, and civilization, adding that the officials discussed ways to deepen cooperation in these areas.
Experts will also work on furthering cooperation between Turkmenistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan in energy, transportation, technology, trade and other fields, Meredov added.
He also underlined that they discussed important issues, including political and diplomatic matters, during the tripartite meeting.
Meredov said that they already started preparations for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Turkmenistan this year.