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Turkish prime minister to pay official visit to Azerbaijan

June 03, 8:24 UTC+3 BAKU
The new prime minister is expected to discuss with the Azerbaijani leadership the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, with emphasis on projects implemented in the energy and transport sectors
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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim

© EPA/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

BAKU, June 3. /TASS/. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will pay a one-day official visit to Azerbaijan on Friday. According to diplomatic sources, the Turkish prime minister will hold talks with Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev and his Azerbaijani counterpart Artur Rasi-zade.

This is the second foreign visit of Yildirim after the Turkish parliament approved the country’s new government. Turkish leaders traditionally pay their first foreign visits to Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan. Yildirim visited the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" on June 1.

The new prime minister is expected to discuss with the Azerbaijani leadership the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, with emphasis on projects implemented by the two countries in the energy and transport sectors. In particular, the talks will focus, among other issues, on the progress of construction of the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) worth $9.3 billion, which is one of the most important segments of the Southern Gas Corridor, designed to transport Azerbaijani gas to southern Europe. It is planned that gas supplies to Turkey through this pipeline will start in 2018, and by 2020 - with the completion of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline - will be supplied to Italy.

The sides will also consider issues related to speeding up the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway passing through Turkey. Baku and Ankara hope to put this railway into operation by the end of this year.

One the talks’ issues will be the intensification of trade relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey. It was announced previously that the parties intended to increase the bilateral trade turnover, which declined due to a drop in oil prices, to $15 billion by 2023. At the end of 2015, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $1.5 billion. In addition, the sides will address the issues of increasing mutual investment, the volume of which in the next five years is planned to be boosted from the current $13 billion to $20 billion.

The talks will also focus on the situation around the aggravation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Ankara fully supports Baku in the Karabakh issue. Given that the visit will take place against the background of the emerged tensions in relations between Turkey and Germany in connection with the adoption by the Bundestag of a resolution recognizing the "Armenian genocide", analysts suggest that the Turkish prime minister will not overlook this subject in the negotiations with the Azerbaijani leadership. It is not ruled out that the sides will discuss issues related to Russian-Turkish relations and the situation in Syria.

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