BAKU, Azerbaijan

The new Shusha Declaration, signed to boost cooperation and promote stability in the region in the wake of last fall’s Karabakh conflict, took Turkish-Azerbaijani ties to a “new dimension,” Azerbaijan’s parliament speaker said on Tuesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev to ink the joint declaration in Azerbaijan’s historic city of Shusha, liberated last fall from nearly 30 years of Armenian occupation.

Under the leadership of Erdogan, “the great politician and statesman of the Turkic world,” Turkey has made great progress, Sahibe Gafarova told the Azerbaijani parliament, adding that the country’s successes have been achieved in all areas of social life and the state.

She stressed that Turkey — which steadfastly supported Azerbaijan during the conflict — is one of the most powerful countries in the world, politically, economically, and militarily.

“This rise of our sister country certainly makes us happy, because Turkey’s strength is Azerbaijan’s, and Azerbaijan’s strength is Turkey’s,” said Gafarova.
She also underlined that the “sincere relations” between Azerbaijan and Turkey-based on common values are “very rare” in the international arena, adding that the friendship and fellowship between nations and states is the greatest treasure.

‘Eternal friendship’

Gafarova said Turkey stood by Azerbaijan over 100 years ago, when it first declared independence, and similarly did so during the conflict last fall over Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh (Upper Karabakh).

She also stressed the importance of the political and moral support Erdogan and the Turkish people gave Azerbaijan from the first hours of the conflict.

“This support showed everyone that Azerbaijan was not alone in its just cause and that Turkey and its leader stand by Azerbaijan everywhere and always.”

Saying that Azerbaijan’s victory in Karabakh forged a “new reality” in the South Caucasus, Gafarova said: “Today, projects that change the geopolitical landscape of the region with the joint efforts of Azerbaijan and Turkey are being implemented in a planned, determined manner.”

She went on to say that Erdogan’s address to Azerbaijan’s National Assembly last week showed that the friendship and fellowship between Turkey and Azerbaijan — called “one nation with two states” — is “eternal and unshakable.”

Gafarova also said that she is confident that relations between Baku and Ankara will continue to accelerate and bring new successes to both.

The Shusha Declaration — signed last Wednesday — focuses on defense cooperation, promoting stability and prosperity in the region, and establishing new transportation routes.

The declaration affirms joint efforts by the two armies in the face of foreign threats. It also pledges joint efforts for the restructuring and modernization of their armed forces.

Last September, clashes erupted between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan when the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and also violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

During the 44-day conflict, which ended in a truce on Nov. 10, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages in Karabakh from a nearly three-decade occupation.

*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev in Ankara

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