In Baku, Gul hails Turkish-Azeri ties
Turkey and Azerbaijan need to act in solidarity, cooperation and brotherhood, President Abdullah Gul said Monday on the last day of a two-day official visit. "We are one nation with separate states," he said, citing a proverbial refrain. "We come together frequently based on this understanding. We will continue our solidarity and cooperation." He made the remarks after signing a treaty of strategic partnership and mutual cooperation with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev. During his visit, Gul met with Aliyev and Azeri Prime Minister Artur Rasizade, who expressed confidence that Gul's visit would promote better relations and benefit both nations. On the new treaty, Gul said: "Such agreements are clear proof of the importance of political relations. Our bilateral ties continue to develop in such areas as politics, security, the economy and culture. Today we discussed ways to promote our relations." Speaking at a joint press conference with Aliyev, Gul said he was grateful to "brotherly" Azerbaijan for the hospitality shown to him and his delegation. Aliyev said Turkey and Azerbaijan's friendship has deep historical roots, adding, "President Gul's current visit to Azerbaijan will help to develop our relations." Gul said Turkey would continue to support Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. "We discussed today what must be done to make the Caucasus a region of stability and security; we talked about solving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and ending the occupation of Azeri territory," he said. Aliyev added: "Azerbaijan will continue to make political and diplomatic efforts for its territorial integrity. I believe that we will realize Azerbaijan's territorial integrity." He also thanked Turkey for its support over Nagorno-Karabakh. "Turkey will continue to work so that the issue of occupied Azeri territory is solved," Gul said. "I want all of my Azeri brothers and sisters to know that Turkey is, and will always be, on the side of Azerbaijan." Asked about visa liberalization with Turkey, Aliyev said this will happen once Azerbaijan makes the necessary arrangements. "Resolving problems will lead to greater cooperation, the opening up of borders, the construction of new highways, and the creation of bigger economic activities," said Gul, who was accompanied on the trip by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. "Big problems can be solved by silent diplomacy, and this is how we will solve the problems of the region." During the visit, Gul attended the opening of the new headquarters in Baku of Azer-Turk Bank, a Turkish-Azeri partnership, and later met with Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahsukur Pashazade, the chairman of the group Muslims of the Caucasus (BMC) at the Tazepir Mosque. Gul and Pashazade were shown around the mosque by its imam. Before returning to Turkey, Gul attended the opening of an iron and steel factory operated by DHT holding. Speaking at the opening, Gul said that since Azerbaijan is an oil and gas exporting country, for its economy to improve, factories like this are key.