'New Azerbaijani connecting corridor set to unite entire Turkic world'
Turkey, Azerbaijan to take necessary steps for realization of Zangezur Corridor, says Azerbaijani President Aliyev
A key corridor connecting contiguous Azerbaijani territory to its exclave of Nakhchivan is set to "unite the entire Turkic world," the country's President Ilham Aliyev said Tuesday.
"Both Turkey and Azerbaijan will take necessary steps for realization of the Zangezur Corridor," Aliyev told a joint news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after both leaders attended the opening ceremony of Fuzuli International Airport.
Zangezur was part of Azerbaijan, but in the 1920s, the Soviets gave the region to Armenia, cutting off Azerbaijan’s land link with Nakhchivan.
"One day, we will be able to travel (directly) from Zangezur to Istanbul, cementing the region's position as a transit and logistics hub," Erdogan said, touting the corridor's significance.
On the territories Azerbaijan liberated last fall from Armenia, Aliyev said both Turkey and Azerbaijan have "a host of projects" to do in those zones.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with Turkey," he stressed.
Aliyev said Azerbaijan "writes history together with Turkey," and added, "We were together during the whole war, we are together today," referring to the 44-day conflict to liberate Nagorno-Karabakh.
He called Erdogan "one of the most important factors in the whole Turkic world."
- Environment favorable for peace with Armenia
On relations with Armenia, Erdogan said the environment is "more favorable than ever before" for lasting peace and progress towards normalization.
He said that if the Armenian side shows a sincere will with Azerbaijan, "there will be no obstacle to the normalization of Turkey's relations with Armenia."
The president also said that the borders must be determined and mutually recognized with Azerbaijan and its neighbors – traditionally a key point for Turkey.
"This understanding forms the basis of good neighborly relations," he added.
Erdogan and Aliyev on Tuesday jointly inaugurated a new airport in the area liberated from Armenian occupation.
Erdogan is the first head of state to land at Fuzuli International Airport, Azerbaijan's first airport in the area liberated from Armenia. This is the Turkish president's third official visit to Nagorno-Karabakh since the region's liberation last year.
- 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.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, with the Armenian army launching repeated attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and also violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and some 300 settlements and villages that were occupied by Armenia for nearly three decades.
The fighting ended on Nov. 10, 2020, after the two countries signed an agreement brokered by Russia.