Türkİye, Politics

Establishing Zangezur corridor will strengthen Ankara-Baku ties: Turkish president

After key land corridor opens, Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Türkiye's connections with Azerbaijan and its exclave Nakhchivan will grow 'much stronger'

Diyar Guldogan and Burc Eruygur  | 13.06.2023 - Update : 13.06.2023
Establishing Zangezur corridor will strengthen Ankara-Baku ties: Turkish president Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Azerbaijan ( Photo: TUR Presidency/ Murat Cetinmuhurdar - Anadolu Agency )


Establishing the key Zangezur corridor land route in the southern Caucasus will build stronger ties between Türkiye and Azerbaijan, the Turkish president said on Tuesday.

"If we solve the Zangezur issue quickly, this will lead us to progress on two important gains taken by both road and railway,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a joint news conference with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on a visit to Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital.

He added that with the corridor, "Türkiye's connections with (the Azerbaijani exclave) Nakhchivan will grow much stronger. The existence of these connections will lead to strengthening relations between Türkiye and Azerbaijan.”

The planned Zangezur corridor – an unimpeded road through Armenian territory connecting Azerbaijan to its Nakhchivan exclave – would also link Azerbaijan directly to eastern Türkiye and so give additional unity to the larger Turkic world.

Erdogan came to Baku after visiting the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as part of his first foreign tour since his reelection on May 28.

The Zangezur region was originally part of Azerbaijan, though the Soviets gave it to Armenia in the 1920s, leaving Azerbaijan deprived of a direct overland route to Nakhchivan.

Following its 44-day war with Armenia in fall 2020, Azerbaijan has focused on planned connections including motorways and a 43-kilometer (26.7-mile) railway through the corridor.

Erdogan also announced that work has begun to establish a Türkiye-Azerbaijan university.

"We will achieve this. Azerbaijani youth will be able to come to Türkiye easily, and Turkish youth will have the chance to study in Azerbaijan," he added.

The president also said they discussed energy cooperation.

"In terms of energy, Europe is abuzz about the gas they will buy through Türkiye. They are constantly asking about it. We’re doing our part in this regard and will continue to do so," he added.

'Türkiye, Azerbaijan union important for region'

For his part, Aliyev again congratulated Erdogan on his reelection victory late last month, saying it had made the people of Azerbaijan "very happy.”

Aliyev said Erdogan and he exchanged a wide range of ideas about bilateral work in the coming years in both narrow and expanded talks, adding that the successes achieved are based on the fraternal relations between Türkiye and Azerbaijan.

Aliyev further said that Türkiye and Azerbaijan will continue to take a unified stance on foreign policy, as their joint efforts on this carry great importance for the region.

Ankara and Baku officially become allies through the 2021 Shusha Declaration, he said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude once again on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan to brotherly Türkiye for the fraternal, moral and political support you gave us during the (fall 2020) Karabakh war,” he said.

He added that the union between the two countries is important for both nations as well as the wider region and the Turkic world.

The close brotherly ties between Türkiye and Azerbaijan are often summed up in the motto: “One nation, two states.”

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