Azerbaijan, Turkey "unite hearts" in key deal
Turkish and Azerbaijani leaders on Wednesday evening enthusiastically signed a framework agreement to set up a High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council between the two countries. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev signed the deal in Istanbul on the sidelines of the 10th Summit of Turkic-Speaking Countries. "This is a historic day, and I'm very happy that we are together," said Aliyev at the signing ceremony at Ciragan Palace. "I 'm very glad to be visiting Turkey and am confident that the historic signing today will ensure the further strengthening of ties between Turkey and Azerbaijan." He added, "This ceremony carries great importance. In fact, the document signed today, to some extent, concludes work conducted earlier and defines the further development of our strategic partnership. The creation of the High-Level Strategic Partnership Cooperation Council is not merely an agreement but will help us build together and coordinate our activity in all spheres, and achieve higher results in all fields. This agreement covers all sectors: Political ties which currently are at a high level, trade relations, mutual investment, and cooperation in the energy, oil and gas spheres. Transportation and the cultural and humanitarian sectors are also covered. There's not a single sector falling outside this agreement. This will help us achieve further successful, dynamic, and better-organized progress in Turkish-Azeri ties, greater unification, and the closer cooperation of our peoples." He also said, "This is a legal and, at the same time, very genuine document. This is not merely an agreement between two states. It is a work that unites hearts and peoples and expresses our good intentions. It will make us wealthier and happier." Erdogan hailed the deal as "a lasting document that crowns the unique fellowship" enjoyed by Turkey and Azerbaijan. Citing the shared bilateral motto of "One nation, two states," Erdogan added, "I believe that, thanks to this council mechanism, we will pass on the unwavering Turkey-Azeri friendship and cooperation to future generations."