By Vafa İsmayilova
The newly-signed historic Baku-Ankara alliance pact, which is set to further enhance the existing military, political and economic cooperation, is seen as a result of a new geopolitical reality in the region. Local and international experts described the signing of the deal as a fundamental event in the region’s life and the two countries' relations.
The Shusha Declaration on Allied Relations, which was signed during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s first official visit to Shusha, Karabakh on June 15 eight months after Azerbaijan’s victory in the war with Armenia, focuses on defence cooperation, promoting regional stability and prosperity, and establishing new transportation routes.
It affirms joint efforts by the two armies in the face of foreign threats. The declaration also pledges joint efforts for the restructuring and modernization of the armed forces. Moreover, the two nations affirm to encourage the execution of joint projects with the aim of developing capabilities in the field of sea, air, and space.
New geopolitical reality
Director of the Center for the Study of Modern Turkey, a researcher of the Turkish sector of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Amur Hajiyev, said that the deal is a kind of result of the new geopolitical reality in the region.
He stressed that this document can rightfully be called one of the fundamental ones in bilateral relations. Hajiyev added that other regional countries and global players will now reckon with the new regional conditions.
“It is noteworthy that the declaration was signed the day after of the meeting of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the presidents of the US and France on the sidelines of the NATO summit, and also the fact that the Turkish president, during his speech following the signing, mentioned his support for Vladimir Putin," he said.
Thus, it can be considered that with the normal development of the situation, the resumption of transport links in the region is not far away, the expert said.
Political scientist and Deputy Director of the Russian Institute of Socio-Political Research Darya Grevtsova said that the signing of the declaration by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his Turkish counterpart Erdogan confirms the allied nature of relations between the two countries.
She noted that within the framework of these allied relations, both countries are ready for the development of the region.
"First of all, this is the development of various economic projects. But this requires the unblocking of communications, primarily the Zangazur corridor," Grevstova added.
The analyst noted that simultaneously Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey must put pressure on Armenia to provide the maps of minefields on liberated territories.
Grevtsova added that the intensive development of the region will be beneficial for Armenia as well, since communications are unblocked, new ways will open and many projects, including investment ones, are being implemented.
Former US ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza said that the joint declaration suggests a much clear commitment of Turkey to Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity than ever.
“Maybe the most important point in the Shusha Declaration is if one of the two countries faces threats to the territorial integrity and sovereignty, the sides will hold joint consultations and put forward initiatives in accordance with the UN Declaration. The Shusha Declaration suggests a much clear and stronger commitment of Turkey to Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity than ever in the past. It does make clear that Turkey is committed to helping Azerbaijan maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
Bryza noted that President Erdogan’s visit to Azerbaijan and specifically to Shusha is of really significant importance.
“The signing of the Shusha Declaration is a very stabilizing step. The fact that the meeting of presidents and the signing ceremony took place in Shusha is obviously of tremendous and symbolic importance for all the reasons we know about Shusha,” he added.
Azerbaijani political scientist and head of the South Caucasus political scientists club Ilgar Valizada described the signing of the deal as an essential historical event in relations between the two countries and in the life of the region.
“Relations between the two fraternal countries have reached the highest level, the level of strategic alliance, that is, comprehensive political, military-technical and mutual economic integration,” Valizada said.
The expert stressed that currently, there is a lot of work to be done at the level of ministries, departments, and individual organizations within the specific content of this document.
Valizada noted that expansive opportunities of cooperation are opening up in the restoration of the liberated territories.
“I think that in the coming months and years we will see how our regions, cities, and villages will be restored. All these are symbols of bilateral cooperation, symbols of a new stage in relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, which, of course, promise long-term peace and prosperity for both the region and the peoples of the two countries,” Valizada said.
Executive Director of the Center for Global and Strategic Studies Khalid Taimur Akram believes the declaration will lead towards economic integration.
“I fully support this grand initiative of cooperation (the Shusha Declaration) between both countries for laying the fundamental foundation for other states to cooperate and facilitate broader regional integration,” he noted.
By a profound assessment of the Shusha Declaration, it is clear that the declaration encapsulates broader pillars of territorial integrity, the policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of the other state, and mutual respect, said Akram.
“These aspects are important to strengthen the political and diplomatic relationships to progress towards attaining common goals. It aims to foster efforts to restructure and modernize requirements of military security and capabilities,” he added.
Akram also said that Shusha city is of immense significance.
“It is the special area considered as a cradle of Azerbaijan's culture and music. The historical and cultural riches of Shusha make it more than just a city for Azerbaijan. Turkey as a great ally of Azerbaijan has been supporting the country in every leaps and bounds, especially, its support in the second Karabakh war is worth praising,” he said.
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