The heads of state and government of the Turkic Council member nations will meet in Istanbul on Nov.12, Turkey’s foreign minister said Monday.
Historical steps will be taken for the council at this summit, Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a joint news conference he addressed with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov in Istanbul following the Extraordinary Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Turkic Council on Afghanistan.
On Afghanistan where the Taliban have seized control in August, Cavusoglu said that the Turkic Council has certain expectations and concerns about the war-weary country like the entire international community.
“These are the prevention of humanitarian crisis, protection of human rights including minority rights and women’s rights, prevention of irregular migrant flow, and resurgence of terrorism,” said Cavusoglu.
“For this, the establishment of an inclusive government in the country and the functioning of the state mechanism are important,” he added.
Cavusoglu said that the foreign ministers of the Turkic Council also discussed the ways to help Afghanistan’s neighbors that suffer from irregular immigration.
“We decided to exhibit solidarity with them. We also discussed what we could do in terms of counter-terrorism, and we are going to be announcing our joint declaration shortly,” he stated.
Cavusoglu also said that the Sept. 27 is a significant date for the Turkic world as it marks the 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence and the start of the latest conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which led to the liberation of Karabakh from occupation.
He congratulated Turkmenistan on the anniversary of its independence and said the country will attend the leaders summit scheduled for Nov. 12.
“Also, today is a day to commemorate the martyrs of Azerbaijan. Karabakh is no longer going to be remembered with instability in the region, but peace and development,” said Cavusoglu, adding that normalization and regional cooperation should be the focus.
“Our president (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) and (Azerbaijani) President Ilham Aliyev have expressed their commitment to peace and stability in the region,” the Turkish foreign minister added.
Bayramov, for his part, said Sept. 27 is a “special day” in Azerbaijan’s history of independence as the country exactly one year ago responded to the military provocations of Armenia.
“The Azerbaijani Armed Forces upon the order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief (President Aliyev) launched a counter-attack and ended the occupation which lasted for nearly 30 years,” he said.
Bayramov also thanked all countries and authorities, especially Turkey, which supported Azerbaijan’s “just stance” during the war.
Since the first day of Patriotic War, Turkey provided its “utmost support” to Azerbaijan and its people at the national level, especially at the level of president, parliament, political parties, ministries, and NGOs, he said.
“This political and moral support was very important to us,” Bayramov said, adding that this support boosted Azerbaijan’s power, and turned into a “symbol of unity and brotherhood” of the two countries.
He underlined that marking Azerbaijan’s Sept. 27 Remembrance Day together with “brothers and sisters” in Turkey has a “symbolic meaning.”
Speaking on the meeting on Afghanistan, Bayramov said the ministers representing the Turkic speaking countries put forward their views on the issue, adding that discussion was “very productive.”
“We will further continue our tireless efforts for the sake of the Afghan nation,” he pledged.
Bayramov said they also had a chance with Cavusoglu to discuss the latest regional developments, bilateral relations, and multiple projects between the two countries.
Liberation of Karabakh
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
When new clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the nearly three-decade occupation.
On Nov. 10, 2020, the two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement to end the fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
On Jan. 11, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a pact to develop economic ties and infrastructure to benefit the entire region. It included the establishment of a trilateral working group on Karabakh.
The cease-fire is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces withdrew in line with the agreement.
Prior to this victory, about 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory had been under illegal occupation for nearly 30 years.