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Organization of Turkic States Summit in Shusha

Analysis of President Ilham Aliyev’s Speech at the Organization of Turkic States Summit in Shusha

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan delivered a significant speech at the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) summit held in Shusha. His address depicted the importance of enhancing relations among Turkic countries, the strategic significance of the region, and Azerbaijan’s recent achievements. My analysis will cover the key themes, strategic objectives, and historical context presented in the speech.

Key Themes

  1. Strengthening Turkic Unity and Cooperation
    • Aliyev emphasized the importance of uniting the Turkic world and enhancing the Organization of Turkic States’ (OTS) political, economic, and military influence. He expressed a vision of transforming the OTS into a prominent international force.
    • He highlighted the shared ethnic roots, traditional values, and cultural ties that bind Turkic countries, proposing that the 21st century should mark significant progress for the Turkic world.
  2. Symbolic Significance of Shusha
    • The choice of Shusha for the summit holds symbolic importance as it marks Azerbaijan’s recent victory in restoring territorial integrity after the Second Karabakh War.
    • President Aliyev recounted the historical significance of Shusha and the emotional impact of its occupation and subsequent liberation, framing it as a triumph of Azerbaijani resilience and determination.
  3. Achievements and Future Goals
    • Aliyev outlined the ongoing efforts in the Great Return Program, aimed at resettling internally displaced persons (IDPs) in liberated territories. He provided specific figures, indicating the return of around 8,000 former IDPs to various cities and villages, with a target of 20,000 by the year’s end.
    • He detailed infrastructure developments, including the expansion of transport corridors, enhancement of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, and construction of new airports and seaports. These initiatives aim to bolster Azerbaijan’s role as a vital transit hub.
  4. Economic and Energy Cooperation
    • Emphasizing economic integration, Aliyev spoke about the establishment of the Turkic Investment Fund and its potential to foster joint projects across various fields.
    • He highlighted strategic partnerships in energy, particularly in renewable energy and energy efficiency, alongside the Digital Silk Road Project, which aims to create a fiber-optic route between Europe and Asia.
  5. International Engagement and Future Prospects
    • Aliyev announced Azerbaijan’s hosting of COP29, portraying it as a testament to international confidence in the country. He pledged Azerbaijan’s commitment to fostering solidarity and consensus between developed and developing nations.
    • He concluded with a hopeful note on the anticipated Karabakh Declaration, expressing confidence that it would further solidify Turkic solidarity and enhance the OTS’s international reputation.

Historical Context

  1. The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
    • The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh has a long history, with significant escalations in the early 1990s and a full-scale war in 2020. Shusha, a culturally and strategically important city, was a focal point in this conflict.
    • The 2020 Second Karabakh War resulted in Azerbaijan regaining control over significant territories, including Shusha. This victory was pivotal for Azerbaijan, both symbolically and strategically.
  2. Azerbaijan’s Regional and International Strategy
    • Azerbaijan’s foreign policy under Aliyev has focused on strengthening ties with Turkic states, leveraging cultural and historical connections to build a cohesive bloc.
    • The strategic development of transport and energy infrastructure aligns with Azerbaijan’s goal to become a crucial transit and energy hub, connecting East and West.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Enhancing the OTS’s Influence
    • By proposing a more significant role for the OTS, Aliyev aims to consolidate the political and economic power of Turkic states on the global stage.
    • Financial contributions and structural reforms within the OTS are seen as necessary steps to achieve this goal.
  2. Economic Integration and Infrastructure Development
    • Infrastructure projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and new seaports are designed to facilitate trade and transport, making Azerbaijan a linchpin in regional logistics.
    • Investments in renewable energy and digital connectivity projects underscore Azerbaijan’s commitment to sustainable development and technological advancement.
  3. Cultural and Historical Recognition
    • Declaring Shusha as the cultural capital and promoting its historical significance aim to bolster national pride and cultural identity, reinforcing the narrative of victory and resilience.
    • Hosting international events like COP29 serves to elevate Azerbaijan’s diplomatic profile and showcase its commitment to global issues.

President Ilham Aliyev’s speech at the OTS summit in Shusha was a comprehensive representation of Azerbaijan’s achievements, aspirations, and strategic direction. By emphasizing unity among Turkic states, celebrating recent victories, and outlining future goals, Aliyev aimed to inspire a sense of shared purpose and optimism. The speech also reinforced Azerbaijan’s position as a key player in regional geopolitics and international diplomacy.

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Mr. Muhammad Ali Pasha is an analyst and expert on Central Asia, South East Asia, China, Türkiye and Middle East having experience in the field of article writing in various renowned journals and newspapers across the globe. Furthermore, he is a writer and poet.