The Turkish government will open its next consulate in Azerbaijan in the country’s liberated lands. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara decided on the Azerbaijani city of Shusha as the location of the consulate, which will host Ankara’s third diplomatic mission to the country.
“I think that once the superstructures are completed within a year, transportation to Shusha will become much easier. President [Ilham] Aliyev said that they will allocate a very serious amount of money here next year. Our Turkish contractors also say that if the plans are realized, they will finish [restoration] this place [Shusha] in 1-1,5 years,” President Erdogan was quoted by CNN Turk as saying at a press briefing.
“Hotel investments to be made in Shusha will also turn it into a center of attraction. And we are opening the Consulate General in Shusha," he noted.
President Erdogan arrived in Azerbaijan for an official visit on Thursday to attend the inauguration and groundbreaking ceremonies of a series of facilities in the liberated territories of Azerbaijan. On the same day, he attended the opening of the Zangilan International Airport in the Zangilan district. He also took part in the inauguration of agricultural centers and laid the foundation stone of a railway with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev in the Jabrayil district.
Turkish authorities first revealed their intention to launch a Turkish mission in Shusha in June 2021 when President Erdogan visited the city to sign a strategic partnership declaration with President Aliyev. Back then, President Erdogan said the diplomatic mission would help the two countries implement the planned activities in the region faster and more efficiently.
In May 2022, Ankara once again reiterated its intention to launch a consulate in the city of Shusha.
Türkiye was the first country to recognize Azerbaijan’s independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The first Turkish diplomatic mission in Azerbaijan was a consulate general. However, it was later transformed into an embassy. Currently, Türkiye has an embassy and two consulates in Azerbaijan. The embassy is located in the capital Baku, while the consulates are based in the cities of Nakhchivan and Ganja.
The Azerbaijani army restored Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over the city of Shusha on November 8, 2020, during a 44-day-long counter-offensive operation from September 27 through November 9, 2020. Azerbaijani forces liberated more than 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, from a nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation.
The liberation of Shusha played a crucial role in the retreat of Armenia’s forces and the cessation of hostilities. The war ended with the signing of a tripartite statement by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia on November 10, 2020. Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan as part of the obligations it agreed to under the agreement.