By Vugar Khalilov
Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov has said that the development of the Azerbaijani-Turkish military cooperation ensures regional stability, the Defence Ministry reported on September 27.
Hasanov made the remarks at a meeting with the visiting Turkish delegation led by Deputy National Defence Minister Muhsin Dere.
Hasanov noted that Azerbaijan expands cooperation with Turkey in military, military-technical and military education fields to increase its defence capabilities.
Stressing the importance of Azerbaijan’s victory in the Second Karabakh War, the minister once again thanked Turkey for its political and moral support during the war.
In turn, Dere drew attention to the development of a joint military industry and exchange of experience between the two countries.
The two officials discussed the prospects and main directions of the Azerbaijani-Turkish military cooperation, joint drills involving different types of troops of the two countries, as well as other issues of interest.
At the end of the meeting, Hasanov awarded the Turkish deputy minister the medal "For Service in the Field of Military Cooperation".
In a separate report, the ministry said that Azerbaijani Deputy Defence Minister Karim Valiyev also met the Turkish delegation.
The meeting focused on cooperation in the military, military-technical, military-educational and other spheres and noted the successful development of cooperation between the Azerbaijani and Turkish armies, the report added.
Commenting on regional security, the parties noted the importance of the joint military exercises between two countries in this regard.
Prospects for the joint military production and other issues of mutual interest were discussed at the meeting.
Moreover, the meeting between the Turkish delegation led by Dere and the head of the ministry's main logistics department, Lt-Gen Nizam Osmanov, focused on the development of logistics between the Azerbaijani and Turkish armies, the ministry reported on September 27.
The sides discussed the Azerbaijani army's future equipment with the modern Turkish defence industry products.
Azerbaijan and Turkey periodically hold joint drills to improve interaction and communication between their army units.
Military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey first emerged in 1992, with an agreement signed between the Azerbaijani and Turkish governments on military education and weapon equipment and deals to help strengthen the bond between the two nations.
On June 15, the two countries signed a memorandum of alliance that cemented the existing military, political and economic cooperation.
The Shusha Declaration on Allied Relations that President Ilham Aliyev and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed during the first official visit to Shusha eight months after Azerbaijan’s victory in the war with Armenia, also focuses on defence cooperation.
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.
In an interview with Turkey's Anadolu Agency on September 27, President Ilham Aliyev said that the signing of the Shusha Declaration raised bilateral relations to an even higher level.
“In fact, by signing the Shusha Declaration, we raised our de facto relations to the de jure level or the level of the alliance. We already had allied relations in every area but we formalized them, and this is a clear direction for our further activities,” he stated.
On September 26, Turkish ambassador Cahit Bagci said that the Shusha Declaration is as important as the Treaty of Kars signed 100 years ago.
“The Shusha Declaration is a step towards the future of relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey. The declaration provides for two key aspects: firstly, to bring relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey to the level of strategic alliance, and secondly, to develop and deepen cooperation between our countries. Our main goal is to further strengthen the Azerbaijani-Turkish relations, raising them to a higher level,” he said.
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