Military exercises of Azerbaijan and Turkey: playing with fire in the South Caucasus

Военные учения Турции и Азербайджана: игра с огнем на Южном Кавказе

For military exercises of Turkey and Azerbaijan with anxiety observed in neighbouring Armenia, especially in the Wake of renewed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ankara’s actions are explained by economic interests.

Turkey traditionally considers itself the protector and defender of Azerbaijan. Both Nations have common roots, Turkish and Azeri languages are very close. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Azerbaijan’s independence in the country’s politics quickly established the doctrine of “two States – one nation”. This slogan Baku and Ankara emphasize the closeness of both countries and the bilateral relations. From 29 July to 10 August, both countries have in Azerbaijan large-scale military exercises involving land forces and military aviation. For the joint Turkish-Azerbaijani military maneuvers with anxiety observed in the neighboring Armenia.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan flared up again

Long and low-intensity conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted in the late 1980’s and grew into a large-scale military operations that lasted until the mid 1990-ies. The bone of contention between the two countries was the region of Nagorno-Karabakh in 1991 declared their independence.

From the point of view of international law, the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is part of Azerbaijan in 1994, after the signing of the tripartite agreement on the cease-fire, most of its territory is under the control of living in NKR ethnic Armenians. Since that time, local skirmishes on the border of the unrecognized Republic and Azerbaijan have become a daily reality.

July 12 at the site of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border once again broke out an armed conflict. The parties have accused each other of violating the ceasefire and shelling of civilians. Victims according to official figures were 19 people, mostly soldiers. The place of the collision was unexpected – the site is located approximately 300 km from the border of Azerbaijan and the unrecognized Nagorno Karabakh.

Turkey rushes to the aid of his protégé

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016 during the next armed clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh assured that Turkey “until the end” will support Azerbaijan in any emergency. On the background of the new cross-border escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ankara has traditionally sided with his Azerbaijani protégé. “The pain of the Azerbaijani Turks is our pain,” said the Minister of defence of Turkey, Hulusi Akar, adding that “Armenia will be responsible for it.”

This time Turkey was not limited to rhetorical statements: state news Agency Anadolu announced by Azerbaijan’s full-scale military exercises from July 29 to August 10. Information confirmed and in the Ministry of defense of Azerbaijan: according to the defense Department, with the involvement of maneuvers of land forces and military aviation are being held in Baku, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Kurdamir and Yevlakh.

“The exercise may pose a threat to stability in the region”

Head of the Research center for data analysis Insicht Anna Karapetyan considers passing military exercises alarming.

“Needless to say, after the recent clashes in Tovuz, Azerbaijan provoked, and after the unprecedented aggressive rhetoric by Turkey’s military exercises will not contribute to strengthening security and stability in the region”, – says the analyst. – Turkey is a destructive factor in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.” According to Karapetyan, the military support of Turkey should be viewed as a threat to Armenia and the international community must respond accordingly.

The analyst Casinos khaki from Yeditepe University in Istanbul, in turn, supports the idea of joint military manoeuvres. “These are very important exercises involving land and air units, and special units. Turkey uses military force to try to ensure peace and stability in the region”, – said the expert.

Casinos khaki recalls that the stability in the Caucasus region depend on international economic relations: “Azerbaijan is rich in natural resources, billions of cubic meters of natural gas annually transported from there to Europe.” Therefore Turkey’s efforts also benefit the Europeans, according to the analyst.

The economic interests of Ankara in the Caucasus

Support Ankara’s neighboring States in the Caspian sea is due to economic interests: in recent years, Azerbaijan has become Turkey’s one of the most important energy suppliers. Through its territory pass three gas pipeline: put into operation two years ago, the TRANS-Anatolian and TRANS-Caucasus and the South Caucasus. For each of these pipelines natural gas from the Caspian sea region comes to the gas distribution network in Turkey.

Three pipeline important for Turkey because the Turkish government is making more efforts to reduce energy dependence on Russian gas. Until recently, Turkey received natural gas, mainly from Russia on gas pipeline “Blue stream”, laid under the Black sea and reaching to the Asian territory of the black sea coast of Turkey. The new pipeline “Turkish stream”, which starts in the Krasnodar region of Russia and reaching to the European part of Turkey, increased the throughput of the existing pipeline almost doubled.

Why do the actions of Turkey in Azerbaijan irritate the Kremlin

Russia is closely monitoring the patronizing attitude of Turkey towards Azerbaijan, which Ankara shows more and more aggressive.

However, Turkish political scientist, expert on Russian foreign policy Kerim has not think that the military exercises, which started August 1 and will exacerbate relations between Turkey and Russia. However, he notes, the situation may change: “more and more signs saying that the Turkish government wants to establish a military base in Azerbaijan on a permanent basis. It can become a serious cause for conflict between Ankara and Moscow,” admits Khas.

One of the reasons for the hostile attitude of the Russian government to the hegemonic aspirations of Ankara is the economic interests of the Kremlin in the South Caucasus. Russian energy companies such as Gazprom have a monopoly on gas supplies to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. But equally important are the political relations of both countries: Armenia is considered a major ally of Russia in the Caucasus, and Moscow has traditionally been on the side of Yerevan. In 1995, appeared in Armenia the Russian military base: one of the garrisons located just 15 kilometers from the border with Turkey.

Военные учения Турции и Азербайджана: игра с огнем на Южном Кавказе

Военные учения Турции и Азербайджана: игра с огнем на Южном Кавказе

Военные учения Турции и Азербайджана: игра с огнем на Южном Кавказе

Военные учения Турции и Азербайджана: игра с огнем на Южном Кавказе

Военные учения Турции и Азербайджана: игра с огнем на Южном Кавказе

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