Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz: Nothing can negatively affect the Turkish–Azerbaijani brotherhood

Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz: Nothing can negatively affect the Turkish–Azerbaijani brotherhood
# 01 November 2010 16:25 (UTC +04:00)
There will be a continuation of solidarity with respect to primary foreign policy objectives,” stated H.E. Ünal Çeviköz, Ambassador of Turkey to the UK. The comments were made during a meeting entitled Azerbaijan and Turkey: Redefining the Parameters of the Relationship on 25 October in the Burton Room of the Institute of Directors, London, during an event organised by The European Azerbaijan Society.
The Society told APA that speaking before a capacity audience of 80 delegates from business, international diplomacy, NGOs and friends of Azerbaijan, Ambassador Çeviköz spoke about the existing bilateral relations.
Confining himself to charting the relationship from the early 20th Century, he explained how the Caucasus Islamic Army, commanded by Nuri Pasha, fought to liberate the city in 1918. This led to the establishment of the first democratic, independent Azerbaijani republic.

The Ambassador then described the linguistic, religious and cultural links between the two countries, recalling that Heydar Aliyev, former Azerbaijani President, considered the relationship to be represented by the phrase: “single nation, two states.”
Ambassador Çeviköz referred to the post-independence relationship as having three phases – an emotional period, reuniting two Turkic nations (1991–93); a decade when strategic partnerships were developed (1993–2003); and the maturity era (since 2003).

With regard to the ‘strategic decade’, the Ambassador explained that the understanding between President Heydar Aliyev and the former Turkish President Süleyman Demirel was “a relationship between equals.” He also commented that: “Turkey has also been an ardent supporter of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, defending Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution in accordance with these norms.”

Ambassador Çeviköz concluded with a consideration of relations since 2003, explaining
that the 9/11 terrorist attacks have forced the Caucasus off the news agenda, and hence the Nagorno-Karabakh situation had been allowed to stagnate. However, Azerbaijan is now viewed as playing an essential geopolitical role regarding the Afghan struggle, with the US elevating it to a position on the world stage. He also explained that Azerbaijani–Turkish trade volume, including the operations of the BTC pipeline, had increased from $250m to $1bn during 2001–09.

His Excellency stressed that the Turkish–Armenian protocols, signed last year, had no lasting impact on the two Turkic nations’ relationship, commenting: “I will simply underline that, nothing can negatively affect the Turkish–Azerbaijani brotherhood and understanding.” He went on to illustrate this fact by citing the Agreement on Strategic Partnership and Mutual Assistance, signed between President Aliyev and Turkish President Gül in August; energy agreements ratified by the Turkish BOTAS and Azerbaijani SOCAR companies; and the recent strategic agreement signed during the Summit of Turkic-speaking Countries.
This thought-provoking presentation led to a lively question-and-answer session, with questions being posed by Dennis Sammut, LINKS; Craig Oliphant, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Harold Formstone, former UK Ambassador to Azerbaijan; and Lord Kilclooney, amongst others.