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Turkiye and Azerbaijan sign gas pipeline deal after victory in Nagorno-Karabakh

September 27, 2023 at 8:51 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (R) upon Aliyev’s invitation in Azerbaijan’s autonomous Nakhchivan exclave on September 25, 2023 [TUR Presidency/Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye and Azerbaijan have signed a deal for a gas pipeline linking the two countries following Baku’s military victory over Armenian militants in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev met on Monday in the Azeri exclave of Nakhchivan. They hailed Azerbaijan’s military victory in Nagorno-Karabakh over the past week after Armenian militants were forced into a ceasefire following a 24-hour Azerbaijani military operation.

“It is a matter of pride that the operation was successfully completed in a short period of time, with utmost sensitivity to the rights of civilians,” Erdogan told a joint press conference.

He also announced a deal signed with Aliyev for the foundation of the Igdir-Nakhchivan gas pipeline, stretching from the eastern Turkish city of Igdir to Azerbaijan’s autonomous exclave of Nakchivan. “I’m very pleased to be with all of you as we connect Nakhchivan with the Turkish world.”

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The two leaders then signed a protocol on the Kars-Nakhchivan railway project, and participated in the opening of the Nakhchivan military complex.

Azerbaijan’s operation to capture the rest of Nagorno-Karabakh – the region internationally-recognised as Azerbaijan’s but with a majority Armenian population at the time – completed Baku’s previous hostilities with Armenian forces back in 2020, when Azeri forces defeated them and largely gained control of the region.

The meeting between Erdogan and Aliyev, and the signing of deals, came as thousands of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh fled the area with guarantees of protection by Azerbaijani forces. As most of the Armenians residing in the area distrust Baku and fear the alleged threat of ethnic cleansing, the exodus is only expected to increase. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that he expects around 120,000 civilians to leave Nagorno-Karabakh for Armenia.