By Ertugrul Subasi
BAKU, Azerbaijan (AA) – The famed phrase on Turkish-Azerbaijani ties “One nation, two states” is not just a slogan but “reality,” said Turkey’s parliament speaker on Wednesday
The most concrete proof of these close ties is Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan during last fall’s conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, Mustafa Sentop told reporters in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, where he met with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov.
Later, Sentop met with Turkish businesspeople and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
He stressed that relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan are also important for the Central Asian Turkic republics.
He stated that travel between the two states using only national ID cards – with no need for passports – started this April, and negotiations for making free trade easier are underway.
Underlining that the reconstruction of the Karabakh region in the wake of the conflict also carries importance, Sentop said that Turkey wants to take a larger role in the process.
Investments and economic activities in the Caspian Basin are important for Turkey since economic and trade ties have become more significant for the two countries, he said.
Azerbaijan is closely watching developments for realizing the Zangezur corridor, which is supposed to connect Azerbaijan with its exclave of Nakhchivan, said Sentop.
He said that this is important for Turkey, as it will link the country with Azerbaijan and the Central Asian Turkic republics by land.
Telling how the trade volume between the two countries is expected to be $15 billion in 2023, he added that this goal could also be reached long before then.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan 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 last September and ended on Nov. 10 with a Russia-brokered cease-fire.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from Armenia’s nearly three-decade occupation.
*Writing by Merve Berker