ANKARA : Turkey’s youth and sports minister reiterated the strategic importance of bilateral relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan at a reception Friday in the capital.“Azerbaijan’s happiness is our happiness and its sorrow is our sorrow,” said Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu, speaking at the opening ceremony.The Azerbaijan Embassy held the event to mark its National Day, Armed Force’s Day and the 100th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s Diplomatic Service.

Kasapoglu underlined that bilateral relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, two “sister countries”, had rapidly developed since Azerbaijan gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. He described the two countries as leading political and commercial partners as per the late Azeri President Haydar Aliyev’s motto ‘One nation, two states’. “It is one of the fundamental duties of all of us to increase this partnership, which is strengthened by the sincere friendship and the everlasting brotherhood of our peoples,” Kasapoglu said. Congratulating Azerbaijan’s National Day, Kasapoglu added: “Turkey is Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan is Turkey.” Turkey’s Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zumrut Selcuk, Land Forces Commander Umit Dundar, Naval Forces Commander Adnan Ozbal as well as ambassadors and diplomatic and military mission representatives in Ankara attended the reception. Commenting on the Upper Karabakh conflict, Kasapoglu said: “We hope the Upper Karabakh conflict will be resolved as soon as possible within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and in accordance with the rules of international law and the related UN decisions."