Turkey’s President Erdogan says Ankara plans to open a consulate in the region to aid reconstruction, with the declaration to boost cooperation on Zangezur corridor, terrorism, organised crime and illegal immigration.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (R) shake hands after signing
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (R) shake hands after signing "Shusha Declaration" following a bilateral meeting in Shusha city of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan on June 15, 2021. (AA)

Turkey and Azerbaijan have signed the “Shusha Declaration”, a pact that focuses on defence cooperation and establishing new transportation routes.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met on Tuesday in the historic city of Shusha where the two leaders signed several security and economic agreements.

The "Shusha Declaration" ensures assistance to each country in case of threats from other states, and that joint meetings are frequently held on security issues.

It also helps in expanding joint efforts against terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

President Erdogan said Turkey will help the country rebuild following the conflict with Armenia and help Azerbaijanis return home.

Erdogan also said, a platform with six countries comprising Turkey, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia will be established to protect the region while power plants, energy lines are being built back after the war.

He said: "We are willing to make all kinds of sacrifices. Mr. Putin as well... With the steps to be taken in this regard, the region will become a peace zone."

"We hope Armenia will grasp this hand extended in solidarity, take an opportunity to shape a common future together," he added.

Turkey is planning to open a consulate general in the recently liberated city of Shusha as soon as possible, Erdogan said.

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Turkey was a key backer of Azerbaijan during the conflict, which erupted in September and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire after six weeks of fighting and some 6,000 deaths.

The truce saw Armenia cede territories it had occupied for decades, including Shusha, which both Armenians and Azerbaijanis claim as a cradle of their culture.

The fortress town sits on cliffs around 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Nagorno-Karabakh's largest city and the end of its illegal Armenian occupation in November had marked the turning point of the war.

Before meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Erdogan reviewed troops at a welcoming ceremony in Shusha's main square, decorated with flags of the two countries, footage by state-run AzTV station showed.

A senior Azerbaijani diplomat told AFP that during the visit the Turkish leader will also "deliver a speech to the Azerbaijani parliament and on Wednesday attend the Euro 2020 football match in Baku between Turkey and Wales."

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies