The president of Turkey, Recep Tayip Erdogan, and the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, met yesterday (15 June) in the city of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh, where they signed a declaration of alliance. The document, titled, ‘The Shusha Declaration on Allied Relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Turkey’, is said to be a roadmap for co-operation, covering political and commercial issues as well as paying particular attention to defence and mutual military aid.
Speaking at a joint press conference, after pledging support to Azerbaijan in the rehabilitation of lands returned to its control during last year’s war, President Erdogan called on "everyone, who has an influence on the region, to see the facts, acknowledge the Azerbaijani people’s victory and look to the future.” He expressed hope that Armenia would take the hand extended in good faith for co-operation and that the opportunity to shape the future together not be missed. “Anyone who wants to contribute to the new status in the region must abandon the politics of hatred and provocation and must rather encourage co-operation”, he stated, promising that if such an atmosphere emerged, Turkey would do its part towards the normalisation of relations with Armenia.
Speaking on the current situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Turkish president notably placed his support behind the establishment of a formal peace agreement:
“We are of the belief that this promising process will advance in much more reliable manner if Azerbaijan and Armenia crown their ceasefire agreement with a comprehensive and visionary peace agreement.”
He also referred to the Shusha declaration as a historic step in the Turkish-Azerbaijani concept of ‘one nation, two states’, and announced that Turkey planned to open a consulate general in Shusha as soon as possible.
For his part, President Aliyev celebrated that this was the first time that the president of Turkey had visited the Karabakh region, adding:
“The joint declaration on alliance signed today raises our relations to the highest level. The title of the declaration says it all. Today, we have established a qualitatively new relationship, and all the provisions of this declaration are a guarantee of our future co-operation.”
Shusha was taken back under Azerbaijani control in the final days of last year’s 44-day war and has become somewhat of a symbol of Azerbaijan’s military victory. In a decree on 6 May, President Aliyev designated Shusha Azerbaijan’s cultural capital.