Gul: "The Turkish-Azeri spirit of one nation rises above all"
The ties of friendship and brotherhood between Turkey and Azerbaijan and their commitment to the spirit of "one nation, two states" rises above all, President Abdullah Gul, on a two-day official visit to Azerbaijan, said yesterday. Speaking to reporters before meeting with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Baku, Gul said, "In Azerbaijan, we're actually in our own country, on home soil, and among brothers." After their meeting, Gul and Aliyev also co-chaired an interdelegational meeting, accompanied by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz. Speaking at a joint press conference afterwards, Gul highlighted the importance Turkey places on stability in the Caucasus. Touching on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Gul reiterated Turkey's stance that it should be resolved in line with Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azeri territory, was invaded by Armenia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, prompting Turkey to close its border with Armenia in solidarity with Azerbaijan. In recent years, Turkey has taken important steps to normalize relations with Armenia as part of its policy of zero problems with neighboring countries. The two countries signed historic rapprochement protocols last October to restore diplomatic ties and reopen their sealed border. But this process came to an impasse due to Armenia's refusal to take steps towards solving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Turkey has repeatedly made it clear that normalization of relations with Armenia depends on solving the issue in line with Azeri territorial integrity under international law. In Baku, Gul also visited the tomb of late Azeri President Haydar Aliyev and the Turkish Cemetery. Speaking at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which honors Ottoman Turkish soldiers who fought to save Baku from Armenian and Bolshevik forces during World War I, Gul said you can see names and birthplaces from both sides of the border there. Gul also visited the Azeri Parliament, and Aliyev gave him a tour of Baku by automobile.