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'Hard to wave goodbye to the homeland'

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  • 'Hard to wave goodbye to the homeland'

    'Hard to wave goodbye to the homeland'

    Friday, August 5, 2005

    ANAKARA - Turkish Daily News

    Azerbaijan's only ambassador to Ankara since the country gained
    independence in the early 1990s, Mehmet Aliyev Nevruzoglu will bid
    goodbye to Turkey on Friday after serving almost 13 years in the
    Turkish capital.

    "Similar to a French saying, I say everybody has two homelands. For
    me and the Turkic world, it is my own country and Turkey," Nevruzoglu
    said in an expression of his feelings at a farewell visit to the
    Turkish Daily News yesterday. "It's hard to say goodbye to a homeland."

    Despite being fond of his career as a physics professor, Nevruzoglu
    accepted the Ankara assignment in 1992 as he perceived his mission to
    establish the Azerbaijani Embassy in Turkey, which he describes as
    the center of the Turkic world, as very crucial. "I stopped working
    as a scientist, although I loved it and had invested 50 years in it,
    to come to Ankara for such an important mission," said the ambassador,
    recalling his early days of service.

    Ethnically and culturally bound neighbors Turkey and Azerbaijan
    enjoy close ties. For instance, Turkey insists on Armenian military
    withdrawal from the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, among other
    conditions, before normalizing relations with Yerevan. Baku agreed
    to help Turkey in efforts to ease the economic isolation of ethnic
    kin in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC).

    Privately owned Azerbaijani planes have recently landed at a KKTC
    airport after visits to Nicosia by Azerbaijani parliamentarians.

    Nevruzoglu said that after April 2004 referenda in which Turkish
    Cypriots voted in favor of a U.N. peace plan while Greek Cypriots
    voted against it, the international community realized the Turkish
    Cypriot community was in support of a peaceful settlement to the
    dispute. "Everybody realized our brothers in the KKTC were subjected
    to injustice," he said.

    The veteran ambassador recalled an Organization for Security and
    Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Istanbul where the then
    leaders of Turkey, the United States, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan
    affixed final signatures for the start of the multi-billion-dollar
    Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline project as his happiest moment
    during his term in Ankara, along with the birth of his two grandsons.

    Nevruzoglu's career as a diplomat does not end with his departure
    from Turkey. He has been taking Spanish language lessons for the past
    two months because he will soon begin serving as Baku's ambassador
    to Madrid.
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