Tahir Mirkishili, who is a deputy of Azerbaijan National Assembly and a member of the OSCE delegation, has evaluated the Azerbaijan-Turkey relations and the last developments in the region. Referring to the 15 July coup attempt, Mirkishili said, “The success of FETO’s coup attempt is the destruction of the Turkish state. No Azerbaijanis can be indifferent to the destruction of Turkey in a tragic way.”
“KARABAGH ISSUE IS THE CONTINUATION SOURCE FOR ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT”
In Nagorno-Karabakh that is an Azerbaijani land, the provocations of Armenian occupiers continue. What will be the response of Azerbaijan to these provocative acts of terrorism?
The Nagorno-Karabakh issue for the Yerevan administration is considered to be the continuation of the government. In this respect, sabotaging peace negotiations and issuing military conflicts are instruments that serve the interests of the regime of Sargsyan. The politicians who want to reach their political aims are trying to attract the attention of the Armenian people to a different direction with provocations on the front lines. But every time the invader forces are suffering a great deal of corruption.
The Azerbaijani army, which reacted against the Armenian forces that attacked the region where the civilians were living in during the conflicts of 2016, liberated a large region in a short time. It is clear that Azerbaijan will respond to the provocations of Armenia in the most severe way. At the same time they repeatedly stated that they are in favor of resolving the problem through peaceful means.
“NAGORNO-KARABAKH ISSUE İS A GLOBAL PROBLEM”
There are complications in the implementation of decisions related to Karabakh. What are the steps taken to solve the problem?
There are four decisions taken by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to remove the invading forces of Armenia from Azerbaijani territories. But all these decisions remained on paper. International organizations are applying double standards to put these decisions into practice. Serious sanctions should be imposed on Armenia, but we see the opposite. Some countries under the influence of the Armenian diaspora are provoking Azerbaijan by legitimizing the invasion of Armenian forces.
The problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia concerns not only the two countries but also the whole world. We continue negotiations with the United Nations (UN) and the OSCE to solve the problem as Azerbaijan. Our board is working on making Armenia to accept international legal norms. The National Assembly of Azerbaijan urges the OSCE to impose sanctions on Armenia. We also state that this situation threatens the security of Europe. The occupation in Nagorno-Karabakh cannot continue any longer. Azerbaijani territories under occupation must be liberated. If negotiations fail, the Azerbaijani army has the power to reclaim all its possibilities and lands.
“ARMENIAN NATIONAL IDEOLOGY IS BASED ON THE 1915 INCIDENTS”
How do you evaluate the attitude of the world, ignoring the approach to Armenia accusing Turkey of the genocide lies regarding the 1915 incidents and ignoring the massacres against the Turks/Azerbaijanis in the region?
The claim of “genocide” has become a political ideology of the Yerevan administration. In other words, Armenian national ideology was based not on such values as patriotism, independence, sovereignty, but on events of a hundred years ago. It is a proof that Armenia rejects Turkey’s proposal to establish a joint commission. The Armenian government is poisoning the Armenian people with this ideology and trying to justify their own terrorist and occupation activities. The states that recognize the events of 1915 as “genocide” are doing this not to pity the Armenian people, but to prevent the strengthening of Turkey.
“WHAT HAPPENNED IN KHOJALY IS GENOCIDE”
The genocide is a massacre of more than 600 women, children, and elderly citizens just because they are Azerbaijani, destroying Khojaly in the lands occupied by Armenia 25 years ago. The President of Armenia Sargsyan personally admitted his leadership during this massacre. But despite all these events, the vast majority of the world has not recognized the genocide in Khojaly. We must be strong so that these pains do not happen again.
SUPPORT TO TANAP OF 1 AND HALF BILLION DOLLARS
What is the latest situation in TANAP in which Turkey and Azerbaijan cooperate?
The first stage of TANAP’s establishment has come to an end, now the second stage is being studied. It is envisaged that the part of TANAP up to 1810 km long will be put into service in the middle of 2018. We are expecting to allocate 2 billion 809 million dollars to Azerbaijan’s Southern Gas Corridor project this year, which will cost 1 and half billion dollars to TANAP. In this direction, 2 billion cubic meters of gas will be transported to Turkey by the end of June 2018 and it will be gradually increased every year.
“AZERBAIJAN TRUSTS IN TURKISH ECONOMY”
Could you tell us about SOCAR’s projects in Turkey?
SOCAR continues its operations in Turkey with the construction of the TANAP pipeline, STAR oil processing plant and Petkim, which it purchased in 2008. Economic developments in Turkey are closely followed in Azerbaijan. Investments made in Turkey are evidence of Azerbaijan’s confidence in the Turkish economy. SOCAR’s projects in Turkey are for long term. We believe that all our work will be put into service timely and with high quality.
ECONOMY’S PETROLEUM ADDICTION REDUCES
What are the measures taken regarding the economic crisis that emerged after the devaluation in Azerbaijan?
The foreign exchange income of the country is derived from the sale of petrol. Indirectly, the decline in oil prices has significantly reduced the foreign exchange income of Azerbaijan. For this reason, in order to reduce the dependence of the Azerbaijani economy on petrol, various measures have started to be implemented starting from 2008.
Practices such as promoting exports of Azerbaijani products, exempting agricultural producers from taxation, providing fertilizer and hardware support to producers, granting credits to entrepreneurs, establishing a national product procurement system for the needs of state organs, forgiving tax debts, etc. are also among the measures to be taken.
“SERIOUS STEPS IN A STRUGGLE WITH BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION”
What do you think about the difficulties that some Turkish students in Azerbaijan have experienced with educators? It is claimed that these students were subjected to grading by the educators for the fee.
While serious reforms are being made into education in Azerbaijan, it is improved in terms of both content and quality. Managers of many universities have been renewed. Serious measures are being taken to fight bribery and corruption. The electronic system integration of the training system is being provided. All of these systems are being transparentized to avoid any potential adverse effects. So we are fighting about these issues and I’m sure there will be no such complaints in the near future. I would also like to point out that the students who bribe the instructors are also responsible before the law.
“TURKISH PEOPLE UNITED AROUND PRESIDENT ERDOGAN”
You are the most effective country to support Turkey in the fight against FETO. What is the situation of the FETO in Azerbaijan?
President Ilham Aliyev strongly condemned all terrorist incidents that took place in Turkey, especially the July 15 coup attempt, and stated that Azerbaijan is always beside the Turkish people and that the preference of the people should be respected. In spite of the prejudiced approach of some states during these events, the Turkish people were united around the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and he came to the fore of the heaviest test of history. Azerbaijan is against all the terrorist organizations especially such as FETO and DEAŞ, and will be after that. Our state is always on the side of truth and justice.
“FETO IS NOT ABOUT RELIGION”
There may be certain extensions of the FETO in Azerbaijan, but there is no strong ideological basis here. This organization has benefited from the chaotic environment of the early years when we restored our state independence. As in other countries, it also penetrated into the education system first in Azerbaijan. They knew that they could work more comfortably when compared to the Soviet system of education. But as our state got stronger, it started to work against them like other radical movements. In 2009, Fetullah Gulen and the organization’s books, videos and records were banned from entering Azerbaijan. There is nothing about religion in FETO. This formation is not a religious institution, but a political organization that is masked by the name of religion.
“THE SUCCESS OF COUP ATTEMPT IS THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TURKISH STATE”
Where were you during the July 15 coup attempt? What did you feel that night?
I was at home during the coup attempt. We learned about what happened in Turkey on television. At first, I did not want to believe what was happening was true, because the purpose of this initiative was the end of the Turkish state. No Azerbaijanis can be indifferent to the tragic destruction of Turkey, our brother.
Thank goodness that the coup attempt was unsuccessful. As the Turkish people were in their history, they once escaped this great danger. The Azerbaijani people and President Aliyev were with Turkey all the time. Being strong is the only condition for Azerbaijan and Turkey to exist. I believe that as long as our states are strong, our people will live in peace and prosperity.
All materials prepared by Ismail Okan except Presidents photo*
Presidents Photo: Rasit Aydogan
This interview published in Turkiye Gazetesi on March 7, 2017