By Vugar Khalilov
Azerbaijan’s Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar have met in Georgia, the Defence Ministry reported on October 5.
As a part of the meeting, the ministers discussed the development of cooperation in military, military-technical, military-educational, and other fields and as well as stressed the importance of the experience gained by the servicemen in the joint drills.
Hasanov once again thanked Turkey for supporting Azerbaijan in the 44-day war with Armenia in late 2020.
The sides underlined that the sincere relations between the heads of the two states had a positive impact on military cooperation and the strategic alliance, which was based on friendship and fraternity.
Hasanov stressed that Azerbaijani-Turkish cooperation is based on mutual trust, confidence, and support will successfully continue and strengthen in the future.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan and Turkey are holding joint drills in Nakhchivan, the Turkish National Defence Ministry reported on its Twitter account on October 5.
“The Indestructible Brotherhood-2021 exercises will be held in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan between 05-08 October 2021 with the participation of Turkish and Azerbaijani troops. The purpose of the exercises is to develop friendship, cooperation and coordination between the Turkish and Azerbaijani Land Forces,” the ministry said.
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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