The speakers of the Pakistani and Turkish parliaments arrived in Baku on Monday (July 26) with their delegations to meet their Azerbaijani counterpart for an official visit and a trilateral meeting. While the foreign ministers of the three countries met together in Islamabad in January, this is the first time their heads of parliament have assembled, with this visit marking the latest step in the trio’s relations.
It will be my pleasure to receive the official delegations led by H.E. Mustafa Şentop @MustafaSentop and H.E. Asad Qaiser @AsadQaiserPTI, Speakers of the Turkish and Pakistani Parliaments @TBMMresmi @NAofPakistan 🇦🇿🇹🇷🇵🇰 https://t.co/B4jTfr3Ufe— Sahiba GAFAROVA (@Speaker_Az) July 26, 2021
The purpose of the visit was reportedly to discuss the deepening ties between the governments of Baku, Ankara and Islamabad on a variety of issues including regional security, trade and connectivity. At the culmination of their meeting on Tuesday (27 July), the speaker of Azerbaijani National Assembly, Sahiba Gafarova, who initiated the meeting; the speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Mustafa Sentop; and the speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Asad Qaiser, signed the Baku Declaration to enhance inter-parliamentary co-operation. The declaration reportedly expresses their intention to develop inter-parliamentary dialogue, as well as bilateral and multilateral co-operation, to work together on regional and global issues of common interest, and to define common positions. Trend reports Sentop as stating that the document would “contribute to ensuring security in the region,” and “play an important role in terms of institutionalising trilateral relations”. The speakers confirmed that the next meeting in the same format will take place in Islamabad in 2022.
The visiting delegations also met separately with Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, on Tuesday, who sent his regards to the leaders of the two visiting countries. In his meetings, Aliyev noted the importance of the visit of Qaiser in terms of the further development of Azerbaijani-Pakistani bilateral ties, and stated that the visit of Sentop would contribute to the further strengthening of relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey. He also expressed that the meeting between the countries' speakers would serve to develop their countries' trilateral partnership, and that it demonstrates unity.
While in Baku, the Pakistani delegation took the time to pay their respects to those that lost their lives fighting for Azerbaijan, during a visit to the Alley of Martyrs. It is expected that a trip will also be made later this week to the city of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh, which returned to Azerbaijani control during the 44-day war.
The trio of Muslim-majority countries, which have long enjoyed amicable relations, have consistently backed each other on international issues, such as the situations in Kashmir, Cyprus, and Nagorno-Karabakh. As well as political and economic rapprochement, the three nations have also been deepening their military co-operation. Turkey and Azerbaijan have held several live military drills throughout the year, with their presidents signing the ‘Shusha’ declaration on co-operation in June; and Turkey and Pakistan have also vowed to increase collaboration between their armed forces. It was announced last month that Pakistani-Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises would be held later this year.