Looking back at history, we can witness that Uzbeks and Azerbaijanis have traditionally had very close relations in cultural, economic, and various spheres for centuries. The mutual respect and trust between the two Turkic nations have further advanced after they gained their sovereignty.
Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan also enjoyed good relations during the Soviet Union when they were part of a single state. In 1966, when Tashkent was struck by a devastating earthquake, Azerbaijan extended a helping hand to the Uzbek people.
Official relations between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan started in 1995. In 1996, the embassy of Azerbaijan in Uzbekistan and in 1998 the embassy of Uzbekistan in Azerbaijan opened. Uzbekistan’s first President Islam Karimov visited Azerbaijan for the first time in May 1996. During his visit, he was awarded the title of honorary doctor of the Baku State University.
In October 1996, Heydar Aliyev visited Uzbekistan to participate in the forum of the Turkic states and the 660th anniversary of Amir Timur. During Heydar Aliyev’s visit to Uzbekistan in 1997, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Tashkent University.
Moreover, the two countries enjoy close ties in other spheres. Reporters, who witnessed conversations between the former presidents of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, said they communicated without an interpreter. Both leaders said really warm words about each other. According to Xabaruz, the former president of Uzbekistan once said that “the people of Azerbaijan deserve to be envied for having such a leader. The main thing is that he has a clear, thorough and consistent policy and position”.
For his turn, Heydar Aliyev also said nice words about Islam Karimov’s courage.
Today, the relations between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan are very close. For instance, a meeting of the Intergovernmental Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan was held on August 1, 2022. During the meeting, agreements were reached on strengthening cooperation in the trade, economic, agricultural, energy, healthcare, transport and logistics, and environmental sectors, in the provision of public services, cultural, humanitarian, social, and tourism sectors.
In September 2022, President Ilham Aliyev visited Uzbekistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Samarkand. In November 2022, President Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva were welcomed as guests of honor in Samarkand, where President Aliyev attended the Summit of Organizations of Turkic Countries.
Furthermore, the volume of trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan reached $131.06 million from January through September 2022. This figure was $111.9 million in 2021. It is also important to mention that the Azerbaijani Department and the Heydar Aliyev library were founded under the Tashkent University of Oriental Studies in 2022.
By Adkhamjon Janobiddinov