As president, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on September 2-3 paid his first foreign visit (not counting a trip to Turkish-controlled Cyprus) to Azerbaijan to talk about things the two countries share: a friendship, a feud with Armenia and pipelines.
"We are very glad that you came home to Azerbaijan, your homeland, in less than a week after your inauguration," declared Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev by way of greeting to his new counterpart, though old ally. Erdoğan, for his part, wanted to emphasise that the mi-casa-es-su-casa relationship that characterized his nine-year run as prime minister will continue strong. "We are two countries, one nation," he underlined.
And what keeps an alliance together better than a mutual enemy? Both presidents condemned Armenia's occupation of breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent Azerbaijani lands. Aliyev vowed to spare no effort to counter the "lies about the Armenian genocide," the Ottoman-era massacre of ethnic Armenians that Turkey claims was collateral damage of World War I.
Some observers believe that the Karabakh conflict is an even bigger obstacle to the normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia than the genocide row. Baku carries enough cultural and financial influence over Ankara to thwart any attempts at reconciliation. The Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey energy corridor is too important to Ankara to let anything threaten the route.
Just like Armenia, energy transit projects were a must-mention at the meeting. Erdoğan said he is looking forward to launching the construction of the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline, abbreviated as TANAP, which is set to bring Azerbaijani gas across Georgia and Turkey to Europe. "Inshallah, the groundwork will be laid on September 20," he pinpointed.
On Armenia, Erdoğan put it pretty plainly, saying that the Armenian-Turkish problem will resolve itself if the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict is resolved. The way things stand now on Karabakh, this means that neither of the region's two biggest problems are going anywhere in the foreseeable future.