The Azerbaijani president on Thursday congratulated Turkey on the 97th anniversary of its Republic Day.

“On my own behalf, and on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan, I extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to you and all the people of your country on the occasion of October 29 – Republic Day,” Ilham Aliyev said in a letter to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On Oct. 29, 1923, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk officially proclaimed Turkey’s status as a republic, and was elected as its first president in a unanimous vote.

Since then, Turkey celebrates the day on Oct. 29 every year. The Republic is due to celebrate its centenary in 2023.

Azerbaijan and Turkey, both being Turkic nations, share strong historical and cultural ties.

Aliyev said that the “brotherly” country in recent years has demonstrated a comprehensive political, economic, social, military and technological development to become a “power center” that pursues an independent policy globally.

Arguing that Erdogan has an “incomparable role” and “invaluable services” in all these achievements, Aliyev said Turkey’s trust and confidence in their leader is the “highest appreciation” of the policy the Turkish head of state is pursuing.

He hailed the “firm and unambiguous” Turkish position on the ongoing Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. “Azerbaijan, in turn, also stands by the brotherly Turkey on all matters,” he said.

Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces broke out on Sept. 27 over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan.

Turkey has repeatedly supported Azerbaijan’s right to self-defense.

The Azerbaijani leader said the “unshakable” Azerbaijani-Turkish unity and “brotherhood” is the “greatest legacy” for future generations, and it will continue to develop and expand under “one nation, two states” principle.

“On this festive day, I share your joy and wish you the best of health, success in your endeavors, and the brotherly people of Turkey everlasting peace and prosperity,” he concluded.

Separately, the Azerbaijani embassy in the Turkish capital of Ankara also marked the day.

“Today, two flags of one nation wave together in our Embassy. Happy Republic Day to us!” the embassy said on Twitter.

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