Turkey's parliament speaker arrives in Baku for talks
Speaking to reporters upon his arrival at the Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport, Mustafa Şentop congratulated Azerbaijan on its 29th Independence Day.
"We stand by the just cause of Azerbaijan, we support them and that our relation is a unique one in the context of 'one nation, two states'," Şentop said, adding that they will reiterate these thoughts in the upcoming meetings.
"We came with a strong, broad committee from the Turkish Grand National Assembly," he said.
He was welcomed by Ali Huseynli, the deputy chairman of the Azerbaijan National Assembly, Ahliman Amiraslanov, head of Azerbaijan-Turkey Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, Turkey's envoy in Baku Erkan Özoral, and Azerbaijan's envoy in Ankara Hazar Ibrahim.
The Turkish speaker is due to be received by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Monday. He will also meet his Azerbaijani counterpart, among other high-level officials.
On Tuesday, Şentop will address Azerbaijani lawmakers in the National Assembly.
Azerbaijan declared independence not once but twice in the 20th century -- in 1918, with the fall of the Russian Czarist regime, and regained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Today, it is marking the day with both pride and sorrow, as it comes amid deadly Armenian attacks in the wake of a longstanding dispute in Upper Karabakh.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since the early 1990s when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Fresh clashes erupted on Sept. 27, and Armenia has since continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
The second cease-fire went into effect Saturday midnight (2000GMT). It was reached between Baku and Yerevan after the Oct. 10 truce-meant to allow an exchange of prisoners and the recovery of bodies-was breached hours later by Armenian missile attacks on Azerbaijan's city of Ganja.