BAKU — Turkish President Abdullah Gul expressed hope on Friday that he and the leaders of other Turkic-speaking countries will meet in Nagorno-Karabakh after the restoration of Azerbaijan’s control over the Armenian-populated territory.
Gul reaffirmed Ankara’s strong support for Baku in the Karabakh conflict as he and his counterparts from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan met in the northern Azerbaijani town of Gabala.
“The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is one of the very important issues on the agenda of the Turkic world,” Azerbaijani news agencies quoted him as saying. “We will do everything to support those peace initiatives that will help to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through the preservation of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.”
“I hope that one day we will meet in one of the cities in Nagorno-Karabakh,” added Gul.
Addressing the summit, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said the Turkic nations support Azerbaijan on Karabakh in international bodies. “The Karabakh problem must be solved on the basis of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity,” he said.
A declaration adopted by the summit voiced support for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Karabakh. But it stopped short of accusing Armenia of carrying out aggression against Azerbaijan.
Like Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led military alliance.