BAKU, Azerbaijan

The president of Azerbaijan on Monday received a former prime minister of Turkey.

According to the statement by the Azerbaijani presidency, Ilham Aliyev met Binali Yildirim and the accompanying Turkish parliamentary delegation in the capital Baku.

Citing Turkey’s support for his country, Aliyev said the latest developments further strengthened ties between the two countries.

Agreeing with Aliyev, Yildirim said Ankara has always supported Azerbaijan under their principle of “one nation, two states.”

“We know Azerbaijan’s position regarding the Upper-Karabakh dispute is rightful. It now sweeps occupiers from its territories,” he added.

Aliyev also received a delegation from the Turkic Chambers of Commerce and Industry (TCCI), which included senior officials and ministers from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

Speaking at the reception, Aliyev underlined the importance of solidarity in the TCCI and thanked the delegation.

Upper Karabakh conflict

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

Four UN Security Council resolutions and two from the UN General Assembly, as well as international organizations, demand the “immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces” from the occupied Azerbaijani territory.

About 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory — including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions — has been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

A cease-fire, however, was agreed to in 1994.

World powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have called for a sustainable cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

* Writing by Ahmet Gencturk

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