Azerbaijani president urges Turkic states to strengthen defense cooperation

Azerbaijani president urges Turkic states to strengthen defense cooperation

Ilham Aliyev says defense potential 'best guarantor of security' in times of war and conflict

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) - Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Friday urged the leaders of Turkic states to strengthen defense cooperation, saying a country's defense potential is the "best guarantor of security."

"Wars and bloody conflicts break out. In this case, the main guarantor of security, first of all, becomes the defense potential. I believe that cooperation between the member states in areas such as security, defense, and the defense industry should be further increased," Aliyev said at a summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) in Astana, Kazakhstan.

He said Azerbaijan pursued peace talks to resolve the 30-year conflict with Armenia, but Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan made clear their futility when in 2019 he said "Karabakh is Armenia. Period."

Further Armenian "provocations" made the 2020 war "inevitable," and Azerbaijan, exercising the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter, achieved victory on the battlefield and reclaimed its territorial integrity, Aliyev said.

The events in September 2023 were connected with Armenia's unwillingness to withdraw its armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan, holding so-called "presidential election" in Karabakh and death of civilians and policemen, Aliyev said.

Azerbaijan then conducted a swift anti-terror operation, fully restoring its sovereignty and constitutional order within 23 hours, in accordance with international humanitarian law, which was verified by two UN visits to the region, he said.

"Three years ago, right after the war, Azerbaijan initiated extensive reconstruction and construction efforts in the liberated territories. To date, $7 billion from the Azerbaijani budget have been invested in this endeavor, with at least $2.4 billion planned for next year," the president said.

Aliyev said Azerbaijan also invested over $20 billion in economy of the OTS states.

The process of creating joint investment funds has begun, resulting in the establishment of the Azerbaijani-Uzbek Investment Fund and the Azerbaijani-Kyrgyz Development Fund, he added.

The OTS, formerly called the Turkic Council, was established in 2009 as an intergovernmental organization made up of prominent independent Turkic countries that work together to elevate relations and union among themselves.

Its members are Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, while Hungary, Turkmenistan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have observer status.

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