Gagauzia leader: We have similar views with Azerbaijanis on many issues - INTERVIEW
Q: How closely are the Gagauz people integrated into Moldovan society?
A: We have been inhabitants of this land for two centuries, since the establishment of the Republic of Moldova. We consider ourselves Moldovan residents and are in good relationship with all the peoples living in this country. We are a tolerant people who have peacefully coexisted together with people of different religions and ethnicities. Our national struggle was not easy. However, unlike many others, we achieved it by peaceful means. That’s the advantage of our region and we think of ourselves as a good example in the post-Soviet territory. The Moldovan parliament in a short period of time passed a law on the status of the Gagauz autonomy. We do have some questions as to the form of governance, but the law reflected the realities of the day it was passed. Today we can say that this law is one of the best. We preserved our language, as well as our culture and traditions. We are writing our own history, raising our children in Turkic spirit. That’s one of our distinctions. Another distinction is that we are orthodox Christians. We’re the only orthodox Christian Turkic people in the world.
Q: What duties and challenges lie in the way of autonomy?
A: We’re working to consolidate our status. The main duty for us, however, is the region’s economic development. Our region is sustaining itself at the expense of subsidies. The region’s revenues account for 40 percent. Therefore, the government’s number-one task is to achieve economic development and increased revenues. Our partners are assisting us adequately. What’s our difference? We live in a stable region. This allows us to adopt legislative acts to provide privileges to partners and investors. By saying investors, I mean both Moldovans and foreigners. We cooperate with many countries and also feel the support of the Turkish world. We establish active relations with Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Tatarstan. The Gagauz people are the only Turkish people living in the central Europe. We need help and support. I am pleasant that the social and cultural projects will be realized with our partners in Gagauzia.
Q: What other Turkic-speaking states and non-Turkic states does Gagauzia cooperate with?
A: We cooperate with ten regions of Russia, including Saint Petersburg, Moscow and others. We have also established cooperation with Minsk and Moqilyov oblasts in Belarus. We create new institutions due to these relations. We also enjoy cooperation with the Baltic states and our neighbors. There are 35,000 Gagauzians in Ukraine. We are ready to support them within the framework of a number of cultural projects. Gagauzia always welcomes those who visit here with good intentions. I am pleasant that our partners consider us reliable friends. We have laid the foundation stone for a number of good projects over the past two years.
Q: What joint projects can the autonomous territorial unit implement with Azerbaijan in the cultural and humanitarian areas?
A: I am glad to be a member of the delegation led by Moldova’s president. It is good that our authorities understand the importance of the presence of Gagauzia’s leader in trips. I felt that the Azerbaijani president was also pleasant with the presence of the Gagauzia’s leader in the delegation. I spoke in Gagauzian and the president in Azerbaijani and we understood each other very well. We have many similar features and we had a very good impression. Thus, we felt a positive emotion for establishment of future relations. We discussed the possible signing of a document between Gagauzia and one of the Azerbaijani regions. There are also discussions on the new project, which will be implemented under the auspices of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. We are also following the processes taking place in Azerbaijan. Our children actively participate in music festivals. Last year we ranked 15th and this year took in 3rd place. We also participate in various forums on carpet weaving. We discussed a possible participation of our artists and writers in exhibitions in Azerbaijan. In general, we discussed many projects. Our interests coincide. As soon as agreements are signed, they will reflect the plan of measures in connection with the economic, social and cultural spheres. We have similar views with Azerbaijan on many issues. I am hopeful that concrete projects will be soon after the planned meeting of the intergovernmental commission.
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