Peace and stability in the Caucasus will benefit the entire world, not just countries of the region, Turkey’s president said on Tuesday.
“Not only Azerbaijan, but also all countries in the region, including Armenia, and the world will benefit from peace and tranquility in the Caucasus,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an address to Azerbaijan's parliament.
All parties must make the best use of opportunities to prevent “a chain of captivity going around the neck of the Caucasus again,” he stressed.
Erdogan added that the road to lasting peace can be paved through cooperation between all peoples and states in the region, and developed based on mutual trust.
Reiterating Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan, he said: “Today, we stand by Azerbaijan with all our means. We will (also) stand with you tomorrow.”
Underlining that Azerbaijan’s victory in Nagorno-Karabakh last fall – when much of the border region was liberated from Armenian occupation – served the cause of justice, not oppression, Erdogan said this victory also foiled the plans of “those who see the world as the arena of their political and economic ambitions.”
-Liberated city of Shusha
Turkey is pleased to see the city of Shusha, Nagorno-Karabakh as the cultural capital of Azerbaijan this year, as the cultural capital of the Turkic world next year, he added.
On Azerbaijan's Zangezur Corridor Project, Erdogan said the project will bring relief and wealth to the region.
“Armenians will also be able to reach Moscow and the world easily by the railroad in the Zangezur corridor, thus avoiding the blockade they imposed on themselves,” he added.
Zangezur was part of Azerbaijan, but in the 1920s, the Soviets gave the region to Armenia. After this move, Azerbaijan lost the link with its exclave of Nakhchivan.
On Tuesday, the Turkish president reached Azerbaijan for an official visit.
Relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
Last year, the conflict escalated again and lasted six weeks, ending with a Russian-brokered truce.
During that time, Azerbaijan liberated several strategic cities and nearly 300 of its settlements and villages from Armenian occupation. On Nov. 10 the two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement to end fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.