On 14 December 2022, the first trilateral summit of the heads of state of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Türkiye took place in the Avaza tourist zone on the Caspian coast.
Mainly, the agenda of the summit focused on three main topics – energy, transport and trade and economic relations.
The heads of state held talks in a narrow and expanded formats with the participation of the delegations of the three countries. As a result, five documents were signed and a joint statement was adopted.
During the meeting in a narrow format, welcoming President Ilham Aliyev and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, noting that the current meeting is the first in such a format, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov expressed confidence that it will lay the foundation for a qualitatively new stage of relations between fraternal peoples and states.
A full understanding of the need to strengthen mutual relations, the similarity of long-term interests in the context of the main trends of world politics, the huge potential for trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation form the foundation of trilateral cooperation.
Then the Summit continued in an expanded format, during which the leaders of the three made speeches.
President of Turkmenistan: Diversification of energy supply routes and their functioning should be based on clear and precise standards that take into account multilateral interests
The current Summit confirms the inviolability of ties between our fraternal states, the unity of positions and a common readiness for cooperation and friendship, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov stressed.
Relations between the Presidents of the three countries can be described as exemplary. They are distinguished by special friendship, sincerity, trust and complete openness, which allows us to confidently and constructively promote trilateral cooperation in all directions – in political, economic and humanitarian, he noted.
Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Türkiye stand for the maintenance of universal peace, stability and security, firmly declare their position on the platforms of the UN, OTS, ECO, OIC and other international forums.
In the aspect of interstate relations, we strive and do a lot to promote the norms of international law, the Charter of the United Nations, the principles of mutual respect, equality and justice, the Head of Turkmenistan stressed.
“We consider the current trilateral Summit with good reason as an important event in the context of the economic partnership of our countries,” President Serdar Berdimuhamedov said, focusing on the Turkmen–Azerbaijani trade and economic ties.
Thus, according to the results of 10 months, the bilateral trade turnover increased by about five times.
The signing in January last year of an intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding between the parties on joint exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources of the Dostluk field in the Caspian Sea opened up new prospects for joint work based on a solid international legal framework, the head of Turkmenistan stressed.
Türkiye has also been a strategic trade and economic partner of Turkmenistan for many years. In this regard, Turkmen leader praised the stable dynamics of the growth of bilateral trade turnover.
The aggregation of opportunities, the joint use of the resource, geographical and technological potential of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Türkiye will not only significantly intensify the national economies of the three countries, but also enrich the entire geo-economic structure of Eurasia, Serdar Berdimuhamedov stressed, highlighting such strategic areas as energy and transport.
As for the international energy partnership, our countries stand for the formation of a coordinated and multi-variant system of energy supplies to world markets. Diversification of supply routes and their functioning should be based on clear and precise standards that take into account multilateral interests, as well as guarantees of reliability and security, President of Turkmenistan emphasized.
It is from this position that joint cooperation initiatives on the supply of natural gas from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to Türkiye and onward to world markets should be considered, he added.
“Another important area of partnership is the transport sector. We share the opinion on the need for close trilateral cooperation based on a joint strategy for the creation of transport and transit corridors between Asia and Europe passing through the territory of our countries,” the head of Turkmenistan continued.
One of the most promising projects may be a new transport corridor on the Turkmenistan–Azerbaijan–Türkiye route. In this regard, the Turkmen side proposes to consider the creation of a single logistics center to optimize cargo transportation along this route.
The President of Turkmenistan called on his colleagues to make consolidated efforts to create a transport link between East and West, which will significantly allow the parties to reach agreements with other international partners and major investors.
He also stressed the importance of promoting transport diplomacy at such venues as the UNECE, ESCAP, the International Road Transport Union and others.
Speaking about trilateral relations in the field of trade, industrial cooperation, and other important spheres, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted that the economic potential of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Türkiye should be harnessed fully and effectively, oriented in line with current trends and priority areas of global development, primarily in the technological, digital and environmental spheres.
He also stressed that against the background of the difficult situations currently taking place in the world, it is extremely important to maintain an atmosphere of mutual understanding and friendship between our peoples. The special place should be given to cultural and humanitarian cooperation and contacts through creative, scientific, student and sports communities. The inter-parliamentary partnership also plays a significant role.
President of Azerbaijan: The relations of the three states create favorable conditions for the development of cooperation in economic, trade, transport and logistics
“Azerbaijan, Türkiye and Turkmenistan are closely connected with each other by ethnic, religious and cultural roots and shared moral values. We are rightfully proud of the rich historical and cultural heritage of our peoples and their great contribution to human civilization,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stressed.
Speaking about the political relations between the three countries, he noted two fundamental documents in this area – the Shusha Declaration signed with Türkiye last year, and the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan inked in 2017.
The three countries provide mutual support and cooperate with each other within the framework of international organizations, including the UN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Organization of Turkic States, the OSCE and other organizations.
According to Aliyev, the relations of the three states, based on historical ties, create favorable conditions for the development of cooperation in economic, trade, transport and logistics and other fields.
“In January-October 2022, Azerbaijan’s trade turnover with Turkiye increased by 45 percent and reached 5 billion US dollars. Nearly 20 billion US dollars have been invested from Azerbaijan to Turkiye’s economy, and some 14 billion US dollars have been invested by Turkiye into Azerbaijan’s economy,” the Azerbaijani President said.
“This year, the trade turnover with Turkmenistan increased five times, marking record level to date”, he noted.
At the same time, Azerbaijan, Türkiye and Turkmenistan have attained great success in the field of transport and logistics. Three countries have implemented many projects, which, in turn, open up new opportunities for cooperation in the field of transport communication. The investments made in this area in all three countries contributed to the creation of advanced, modern infrastructure.
The head of Azerbaijan told about the transport and transit potential and infrastructure aýailable in his country. ” Azerbaijan is an active player in the East-West and North-South transport corridors and has implemented all major projects related to railway, highway and air transport in its territory. As a result, Azerbaijan has become an important transit country”, he stressed, adding that in the first 10 months of 2022, the total transit traffic passing through Azerbaijan has increased by more than 80 percent year-on-year.
At the same time, Azerbaijan is actively engaged in the opening of the Zangezur corridor, plans to increase the capacity of the Baku International Port from 15 to 25 million tons.
Last year, the groundbreaking çeremony was held for the Alat Free Economic Zone, located on the shore of the Caspian Sea, where the first residents have already been placed. In this regard, Aliyev invited companies from Türkiye and Turkmenistan to take advantage of the opportunities created in this FEZ.
He further announced plans to increase the capacity of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway from the current 1 million to 5 million tons. For these purposes, over US $100 million will be additionally invested in the project.
In addition to the trade and economic component of trilateral cooperation, the Azerbaijani leader highlighted other promising areas of partnership. “Currently, the world is facing new challenges and threats, and therefore, along with other spheres, expansion of cooperation between our countries in the areas of security, defense, and defense industry is of great importance,” he believes.
Having once again stressed the importance of the Azerbaijan-Türkiye-Turkmenistan trilateral meeting, Ilham Aliyev, at the end of his speech, expressed the hope that such meetings will be held on regular basis and will greatly contribute to the further development of relations between the three fraternal countries.
President Erdoğan: The importance of energy security and source diversification for the entire world, particularly for Europe, has been understood once again
“I pray to Allah that the Summit will lead to auspicious results for our countries, for the region and the entire Turkic world,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Türkiye said.
“I wholeheartedly believe that our relations, strengthened by our brotherly ties, will be further reinforced on the basis of our strategic advantages. We aim to utilize the new opportunities, developing with global and regional dynamics, for the prosperity of our people and stability of our region. With Allah’s permission, we will certainly succeed in every matter, about which we act in solidarity as brothers”, he added.
Emphasizing the importance of the Organization of Turkic States, President Erdoğan said: “The completion of the full membership process of Turkmenistan, which joined our organization as an observer member last year, will boost our strength. My dear brother Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s participation in the Council of Elders has broadened our horizon.”
Praising Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan for their exemplary progress under astute leaderships, Turkish leader said: “We will further crown our unity with the documents, which will be signed at the trilateral summit today.”
“It is extremely important that we improve our transportation capabilities. We are going through a period when we must enhance our efforts to develop our trade volume. The regional trilateral platforms, launched by our relevant ministers with their counterparts, have yielded positive results. I believe the regional cooperation mechanisms and infrastructure projects, notably the Lapis Lazuli transit transport corridor, will contribute to increasing our trade volume as well as to regional stability,” President Erdoğan said.
He told that Türkiye has completed a significant leg of the corridor with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Line. The uninterrupted transportation on the east-west axis by taking into service Marmaray, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, Istanbul Airport, Osman Gazi and 1915 Çanakkale Bridges has been ensured.
He called his counterparts to work together and speed up the border crossings and customs procedures to make this route much more efficient.
“It will increase our trade volume to lift or reduce to a reasonable level the toll fees and visas for transporters from our 3 countries, to reduce the visa fees, and to extend the validity period for visas. The documents, which will soon be signed on transportation and customs, will constitute a basis for our efforts,” Erdoğan added.
Touching upon the energy sector cooperation, President of Türkiye stressed that the coronavirus pandemic as well as the war and regional instabilities have reminded us of the importance of transportation in protecting supply chains, which has moved energy supply security to the top of the global agenda.
“The importance of energy security and source diversification for the entire world, particularly for Europe, has been understood once again”, he said.
He has mentioned the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline and the South Gas Corridor, which transport the Caspian gas to Europe.
Erdogan urged to start working on transporting the Turkmen natural gas to the Western markets in a similar way.
“We stand ready to cooperate with our Turkmen and Azerbaijani brothers in the field of friendship in the Caspian. Also, we attach importance to the development of mutual electricity trade between our countries in our region. In this framework, we are ready to work on electricity transmission from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to our country,” he said.
At the end of the summit, the following package of documents was signed:
- Joint Statement of the First Summit of the Heads of State of Turkmenistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Türkiye.
- Intergovernmental Agreement on Trade and Economic cooperation – signed by Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan Batyr Atdayev (trade), Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov and Minister of Trade of Türkiye Mehmet Muş;
- Intergovernmental Framework Program on Cooperation in Science, Education and Culture for 2023-2025 – signed by Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan Nurmuhammed Amannepesov (education, health care, science), Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov and Minister of Türkiye Mevlut Cavusoglu;
- Intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of a joint Advisory Commission on customs cooperation – signed by Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Turkmenistan Maksat Khudaikuliyev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov and Minister of Trade of Türkiye Mehmet Muş;
- Memorandum of Understanding on further development of cooperation in the field of energy was signed by Chairman of the State Concern “Turkmengaz” Batyr Amanov, Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan Parviz Shahbazov and Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Türkiye Fatih Donmez;
- Memorandum of Understanding on further development of cooperation in the field of transport was signed by Mammetkhan Chakiyev, Director General of the Agency for Transport and Communications under the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, Rashad Nabiyev, Minister of Digital Development and Transport of Azerbaijan, and Adil Karaismayiloglu, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Türkiye.
The results of the summit were summed up by the Foreign Ministers of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Türkiye at a joint press conference.
The foreign minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov stressed the broad impact of relations between the three countries on the political situation in Central Asia, in the Caspian and Black Seas region.
He said that the parties agreed to join political efforts on the platform of the UN, the OIC, the Non-Aligned Movement, ECO, OTS, and other international and regional associations.
In this context, Meredov recalled that over the past 15 years, at the initiative of Turkmenistan, the UN General Assembly has adopted 20 documents aimed at strengthening and maintaining sustainable development, peace and security on a regional and international scale. The Turkmen Foreign Minister thanked Türkiye and Azerbaijan for supporting Ashgabat’s international initiatives.
Turning to other items on the summit agenda, he said that one of the important topics discussed during the summit was economic cooperation.
“As you know, sectors such as energy, transport and communications are becoming strategic sectors. In this area, the three countries have solid experience, which forms a strong basis for cooperation, and broad opportunities,” Meredov continued, underlying that the interaction of the three countries in these important areas will encourage the growth of relations in the Eurasian geo-economic space.
Touching upon the topic of energy, Meredov said that “Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Türkiye have reaffirmed their commitment to the principle of creating a balanced multi-variant system for bringing energy resources to world markets.”
According to the head of the Turkmen diplomacy, in the field of supply of energy resources from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to Türkiye, European countries and world markets, the parties agreed to carry out appropriate work on the implementation of the plans and reached agreements.
“The importance of joining efforts towards the creation of transport and transit corridors between Europe and Asia was also noted. Interaction with international organizations, including specialized UN agencies, is considered a significant stage,” he stressed.
In addition, through the trilateral trade and economic cooperation, Turkmenistan, Türkiye and Azerbaijan declare their readiness to work together in such areas as promoting investment partnership, providing the necessary conditions for productive economic cooperation. The importance of interaction between business communities was also noted.
“During the summit, important agreements were reached and relevant documents were signed, which prove the desire of the three countries to further rapprochement, based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, common goals and historical heritage. The first trilateral summit in the Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Türkiye format opens up new prospects for us. At the same time, we have all the opportunities to achieve the tasks set,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan summed up.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov spoke about the opportunities emerging with the opening of the Zangezur corridor.
The Foreign Minister noted that Azerbaijan is carrying out large-scale reconstruction and construction works in Karabakh, Trend reports.
“We believe that the restoration and construction work also opens up good opportunities for joint projects between our countries. At the same time, the creation of transport and communication infrastructure in Karabakh, the work on the opening of the Zangezur corridor, its full-scale launch will lead to additional prospects within the Middle Corridor,” the minister said.
Türkiye, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have agreed to further strengthen cooperation in several areas, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in turn.
“With the joint declaration adopted at the summit, our heads of state emphasized our will to develop our cooperation at the highest level. We have just signed five documents in the fields of energy, trade and economy, customs, transportation, science, education and culture,” Cavusoglu said.
Cavusoglu said that one of the most important agenda items of the trilateral summit is the strengthening of energy cooperation between the three countries, Anadolu reports.
According to the Turkish Foreign Minister, the parties are ready to take joint steps on Turkmen natural gas for the benefit of the three countries and decided to form a working group on this.
Cavusoglu also said that the three nations will further develop economic cooperation through trade and customs agreements signed at the summit.
“The vision of cooperation put forward today will contribute to the prosperity and stability of not only the three countries, but also neighboring countries,” he said.
On 14 December, in the city of Turkmenbashi, on behalf of the Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty of the Parliament of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, an official dinner was given in honor of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan. ///nCa, 15 December 2022