Turkey is striving to increase trade volume with Azerbaijan to 15 billion USD while taking on an important role to support the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Azerbaijan's exclave located between Armenia and Iran, with regards to its gas supply.
“Our trade volume in 2019 was 4.5 billion USD. This number is expected to rise to 15 billion USD by 2023. This is our goal, we need to achieve it,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at a joint press conference after signing a preferential trade agreement with President Aliyev in Baku on Tuesday.
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), in 2019 Turkey´s exports to Azerbaijan were $1.6 billion, while its imports from Azerbaijan hit $394.8 million, making for a $2 billion trade volume.
“Another important step is building up a natural gas pipeline up to the border with Nakhchivan, and the construction of a gas pipeline from Iğdır to the border with Nakhchivan,” concluded Erdoğan following the eighth meeting of the Turkey-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council.
“On one side, Nakhchivan will receive gas from Iran, and on the other, from Turkey. This will greatly improve Nakhchivan's gas supply,” Erdogan added.
The natural gas pipeline is expected to be about 160 kilometer in length.
He also announced an agreement on the construction of the Kars-Nakhchivan railway, which, according to him, will improve the situation of the exclave, which has no land connection with the rest of Azerbaijan.
An agreement on the transportation of gas from Turkey to Nakhichivan and the construction of a gas pipeline was signed in July 2010. The agreement provides for the transportation of 500 million cubic meters of gas through Turkey to the autonomous republic for free.
In turn, Aliyev said the memorandum signed on the construction of the Kars-Nakhchivan railway will add to the improvement of Nakhchivan.
“Because of Armenia's policy of occupation, Nakhchivan has been living under blockade for many years. It is a big problem for Nakhchivan to export its products to foreign markets. Construction of the Kars-Iğdır-Nakhchivan railway will eliminate this problem and thus improve the welfare and prosperity of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic,” he said.
For years, Turkey has extended its support to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic as part of he 1921 Kars Treaty that recognizes the entity as part of Azerbaijan.
Aliyev said 2019 was been fulfilling in terms of cooperation on energy, defense and transportation.
“Turkish President Erdogan set a goal to bring trade between our countries to $15 billion. I believe this is possible, especially considering the fact that the last year trade between Azerbaijan and Turkey amounted to $ 4.5 billion, with an increase of 33%,” Aliyev said.
He emphasized that the documents signed on Tuesday, including the agreement on preferential trade, “will become the impetus for an increase in trade circulation.”
Aliyev also said that over 4,000 Turkish companies are currently operating in Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan invested $18 billion in the Turkish economy, and Turkish investments amount to $ 12.5 billion,” he said.
Aliyev also emphasized that at the meeting of the council, an increase in military trainings and joint arms production was discussed.
He added that Baku will continue cooperation with Ankara on defense and security issues.