Nakhchivan gets access to Europe
Signing the Memorandum of Understanding on Kars-Igdir-Aralik-Dilucu-Sadarak-Nakhchivan-Julfa railway project between Azerbaijan and Turkey is another successful political step
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a visit to Azerbaijan on February 25 to take part at the eighth meeting of the Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council. Within the visit, Azerbaijani and Turkish presidents held one-on-one meeting. The successful development of bilateral friendly and brotherly relations in all areas was hailed at the meeting. The importance of global projects jointly implemented by the two countries was also emphasized. The sides expressed their confidence that the visit of Turkish President to Azerbaijan would contribute to further expansion of cooperation between the two countries.
Later, the eighth meeting of the Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council was held with the participation of the heads of state. President Ilham Aliyev noted last year was a successful one for the ties of the two countries.
"Huge success was achieved in all areas – political, economic, energy, transport. Among them, of course, we can mention the TANAP project reaching the border with Europe,” the head of state said.
"In a word, I am sure that the regular meeting of the Azerbaijan-Turkey Strategic Cooperation Council being held today will be very important for the further development of our ties,” he further added.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed out that the two countries had implemented such gigantic projects together as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, TANAP, the Star Oil Refinery.
"At present, our main goal is to increase our trade of $4.5 billion to $15 billion, as we outlined in 2019,” he said.
Following the meeting of the Council, Azerbaijan and Turkey signed bilateral documents with the participation of both presidents. The sides signed 14 documents in total. Of them, one is the "Memorandum of Understanding on Kars-Igdir-Aralik-Dilucu-Sadarak-Nakhchivan-Julfa railway project between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Republic of Turkey”.
Following the ceremony of signing documents, President Ilham Aliyev and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made press statements. The Azerbaijani president stressed that the trade turnover between the two countries is growing year by year. He said that last year the turnover increased by 33 percent to reach $4.5 billion.
"I am sure that the documents signed today, including the agreement on preferential trade, will give a great impetus to the increase in our trade. Currently, about 4,000 Turkish companies work in Azerbaijan. they have done work worth $16 billion in more than 300 projects. According to these parameters, Turkey ranks first. I believe that mutual investment is also at a very high level. To date, Azerbaijan has invested 18 billion in the Turkish economy and Turkey $12.5 billion in the Azerbaijani economy,” President Aliyev noted.
"There are great achievements in the transport sector. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway we built together operates successfully. Today we talked about the further functioning of this road, and an important document was signed – a Memorandum of Understanding on the construction of the Kars-Nakhchivan railway. This issue is of particular importance because Nakhchivan has been living in the condition of the blockade for many years because of Armenia’s occupying policy. The delivery of products manufactured in Nakhchivan to foreign markets is a major problem. The construction of the Kars-Igdir-Nakhchivan railway would eliminate this problem, and this will contribute to the development and well-being of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic where the only land border between Azerbaijan and Turkey passes,” said the head of state.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the memorandum on the construction of a railway project between Nakhchivan and Turkey a successful political step. He said that the implementation of this project is very important for the development of Nakhchivan.
"Another important step is the construction of a natural gas pipeline to the border in Nakhchivan, as well as to the border in Igdir. Thus, with the construction of about 160 km of pipeline, Nakhchivan will have more access to natural gas. That is, it will get stronger with the support of both Iran and Turkey,” he said.
Aydin Huseynov, a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship, said the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Kars-Igdir-Aralik-Dilucu-Sadarak-Nakhchivan-Julfa railway project is of great political, economic and social significance. According to him, the implementation of this project will lift Nakhchivan from the blockade and improve the economic situation of the autonomous republic. "Nakhchivan has been living in the condition of the blockade for many years because of Armenia’s occupying policy. In other words, the autonomous republic has no direct land relations with Azerbaijan. Our country has established relations via only air transport with its integral part. Subsequently, under the agreement reached with Iran, buses from Nakhchivan began to come to Baku passing through Iran. Construction of a new railway line from Turkey to Nakhchivan will free Nakhchivan from its blockade. On the other hand, this project has huge economic benefits. This will bring new economic dividends to Azerbaijan, including Nakhchivan,” he noted.
The MP said that after the commissioning of the new railway line, Nakhchivan's economic development would be ensured, and a new phase of socio-economic renaissance would begin in the autonomous republic. "This project will also contribute to Nakhchivan's economic strength and potential to be channeled into the country's economy as a whole. The implementation of this project will provide Nakhchivan’s access to Europe, which also means its access to the world and the ocean. With the commissioning of the railway line, the export capacity of Nakhchivan, which has abundant natural resources and economic potential, will increase. Thus, the autonomous republic will further reduce its dependence on the state budget and will self-finance thanks to new economic dividends and income,” he added.
According to economist, MP Azer Badamov, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Baku and participation at eighth meeting of the Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Councilare important in terms of expanding cooperation between the two countries. "There are no two countries in the world close to each other, such as Azerbaijan and Turkey. The 14 documents signed during the meeting will open new horizons for cooperation in trade-economic, military, cultural and humanitarian areas. Turkey supports Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and contributes to the process of liberation of our lands. Turkey and Azerbaijan support each other in international organizations, and this increases the power of our word in the world. The steadfast friendship between our countries is further strengthened by the fraternal relations between our presidents. It also increases our power against our common enemies. Under the agreement, Turkey's role in Nakhchivan's energy security and economic development will increase. Delivery of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to Nakhchivan by extending 160 kilometers, thus connecting Nakhchivan with Azerbaijan by rail, as well as planning the construction of a new gas line through the Southern Gas Corridor, is a very important political and economic event. Export of non-oil products produced in Nakhchivan to Turkish markets will further accelerate the development of the socio-economic life of the autonomous republic,” the MP emphasized.
"Amid the difficult situation in the region, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Azerbaijan was beneficial for both parties,” said political analyst Elkhan Shahinoglu. "President Erdogan said that a railway and a 160 km gas line would be laid from Turkey to Nakhchivan. Realization of these projects is very important for Nakhchivan. True, Turkey's border with Nakhchivan is now closed to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. But this is temporary. Today Nakhchivan's economy is closely connected with Turkey. Ankara will not reduce its support for Nakhchivan's development and the solution of its social problems.”