Statement of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony of signing the Azerbaijan-Turkey documents on transportation of the natural gas to Turkey to be extracted from the deposit "Shahdeniz". March 12, 2001

Dear President!

Dear friends!

Dear press representatives!

The first part of my official visit to Turkey is about to come to an end. I thank dear Ahmed Nejdet Sezer, the president of Turkish Republic once more for his invitation and fine hospitality. This visit is of great importance. Because we have analyzed either the relations between our countries, the issues related to our region or the processes going on in the world. At the same time we have approved once again identity in opinions and made statements to act in union in the Turkey-Azerbaijan collaboration. It makes me so happy. Because Turkey is a powerful, big, developed and democratic country for Azerbaijan, and Turkey has always been a model for young, independent Azerbaijan and today it is a model as well. Esteemed president has already informed you about the talks, discussions which we have carried out. I do not want to take your time by repeating them. But I want to emphasize that we hold the same views in all problems. Particularly, today I felt that there were positive attitudes in the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export oil pipeline in both countries - in Turkey and Azerbaijan. You can be sure that we will together terminate this work of which we have begun since 1994. The Azerbaijani oil in the forthcoming years will be delivered in Turkey and Mediterranean Sea through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.

Some important questions in our relations with Turkey have appeared lately. And it is the question of joint exploitation with Turkey of the natural gas deposits discovered by Azerbaijan. We have got huge gas resources on the "Shahdeniz" gas deposit. Knowing this, we have previously conducted negotiations with Turkish state and government on the exportation of the major portion of gas to Turkey and have reached an agreement connected to it. Today I with greatest pleasure I note that this agreement was realized and the intergovernmental agreement was signed on sale of the natural gas to be extracted in Azerbaijan to Turkey and sale and purchase agreement was concluded. It is more important because this gas should pass via Georgia. We have gas pipeline from Baku to Georgia which had been constructed in the past. We must restore it. Therefore, we should know where we will export the gas. Secondly, we have signed an agreement that 6 billion cubic meter of gas would be sold. But in the future we can sell from 15 to 20 billion cubic meter of gas to Turkey per year.

My dear friend, the ninth Turkish president Suleyman Demirel has repeatedly told me before that Turkey was in need of 50 billion cubic meter of gas, and as much as Azerbaijan would extract gas, they would purchase it. Now we have laid down the foundation of this work together with dear President Ahmed Nejdet Sezer. I am hopeful it will be successful. We will use the available line and deliver the gas in the frontiers of Turkey. It is necessary that Turkey to carries out appropriate works in order to use this gas in time.

But we are of the opinion to create new big pipeline for exportation of the gas to Turkey in huge amount in the future. That`s why big horizons and perspectives are opened before us. It will provide the development of the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship and economic cooperation. At the same time, it will more closely connect us to each other from a strategic point of view. We have built our relations with Turkey on the basis of strategic cooperation principles. We want to develop these relations as well as in the future.

I`d like to notify that I am so satisfied with the conducted talks and the signed agreements.

Dear President, I thank you once again.

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