Azerbaijan's Karabakh region to host informal meeting of Turkic states' leaders

Azerbaijan's Karabakh region to host informal meeting of Turkic states' leaders

Leaders to discuss transport links, preparations for COP29 due to be held in Azerbaijan from Nov. 11 - 22

By Ruslan Rehimov

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AA) - An informal summit of the heads of state of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS), that was proposed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, is scheduled for Friday and Saturday in the Karabakh region, an area liberated by Azerbaijan in recent years.

Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz will attend the summit in Shusha, which will also see the heads of state and senior officials from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan as well as the leaders of OTS observer states Turkmenistan, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Hungary.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was scheduled to attend but he is in Germany to support the Turkish National Football Team that is competing in the EURO Championship. Erdogan’s attendance in Germany is viewed as important after a player on the team was banned for two matches -- unjustly, in Türkiye's view.

At the summit that is themed, “Building a Sustainable Future through Transport, Connectivity and Climate Action," the leaders will discuss the strengthening of the Middle Corridor and other transport links, as well as preparations for the 29th Conference of the Parties (COP 29) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which Azerbaijan will host from Nov. 11 - 22.

The leaders will sign the Karabakh Declaration at the summit, where several documents related to OTS projects will be approved.

Prior to the summit, the OTS Council of Foreign Ministers will convene in Shusha to finalize agenda items and documents to be signed by the heads of state.

TRNC President Ersin Tatar will attend at Aliyev's invitation.

In one of his speeches, Aliyev said, "The President of the TRNC will take part in the summit to be held in Shusha at my invitation. This will accelerate the unity of the Turkic peoples."

Tatar thanked Aliyev for the invitation and said: "All these breakthroughs and developments in the direction of the visibility of the TRNC and its greater acceptance by the international community over time are extremely important and strengthen our new politics."

- Summit in Shusha holds symbolic importance

Aliyev, in a welcoming speech, said Friday that it was not enough for OTS leaders to meet once a year, therefore, he proposed holding an informal summit in Shusha.

Stating that the OTS leaders accepted his invitation, Aliyev said: "Holding the summit in Shusha has a great symbolic meaning. Shusha has been free for four years and rapid reconstruction and reconstruction works are being carried out there.

"The presidents of Türkiye, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan visited Shusha, and the president of Kyrgyzstan visited Agdam and Fuzuli. This is of great significance for the reconstruction of the liberated regions. We feel brotherly support once again. All Azerbaijani people feel it."

Most of the Karabakh region, which is a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, including Shusha, was liberated by Azerbaijan from the Armenian occupation during a 44-day war in the fall of 2020, which ended after a Russian-brokered peace agreement.

Last September, Azerbaijan established full sovereignty in Karabakh following an "anti-terrorist operation" after which separatist forces in the region surrendered.

*Writing by Serdar Dincel from Istanbul

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