BAKU, Azerbaijan 

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Saturday awarded the Order of Friendship to Turkey’s Ambassador in Baku Erkan Ozoral.

According to a statement by the Azerbaijani presidency, Aliyev received Turkey’s ambassador in Baku, whose term of office has expired.

Thanking Ozoral for his efforts to develop fraternal relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, Aliyev said: “Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan in the 44-day second Karabakh war will, of course, always be in our memory and live in our hearts.”

He said that the Turkish ambassador’s activities in Azerbaijan are highly appreciated both as an ambassador and as a Turkish citizen.

“I want to tell you now that you are returning to your homeland, but you are also in your home country here and always have a place here, a place in our hearts. I know that the Azerbaijani public, public organizations operating in Azerbaijan, media representatives and government officials, including myself, highly value your work,” he added.

“Over these years, of course, I have witnessed and seen your activity during my numerous visits both here and in Turkey. I know that you have made every effort to bring the two fraternal peoples even closer to each other,” the president said.

Thanking Aliyev, Ozoral stated that he was honored to receive the Order of Friendship.

“As you [Aliyev] said, I have never separated Azerbaijan and Turkey. Both are my homeland – not my first homeland or second. Both are equally my homeland. Ankara is as dear to me just as Baku,” the envoy said.

“I did my duty here to bring Turkey and Azerbaijan closer … I worked hard to bring our peoples even closer … But it was you, Messrs. Presidents, who opened the way for us to do this. We were able to do this thanks to you.”

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