Azerbaijani-Turkish Joint Exercises: Signaling Alliance Commitments (ANALYTICS)
By Naghi Ahmadov
Azerbaijan and Türkiye held joint exercises named “Fraternal Fist” in Baku city, as well as the territories of Astara, Jabrayil, and Imishli regions. Conducting such military drills at this sensitive time indicates the strategic alliance and bilateral partnership between Azerbaijan and Türkiye, in accordance with the principle of “one nation — two states” laid down by Heydar Aliyev. Put simply, all sides must bear in mind that Azerbaijan and Türkiye always stands by each other.
During the exercise, various training-combat tasks were fulfilled in different conditions by units of the Land Forces, Air Force, Special Forces, Engineering Troops, Rocket and Artillery Troops of the Azerbaijan Army together with the soldiers of the Turkish Armed Forces. Joint exercises held to ensure combat interoperability during the troops’ interaction, improve the control, exchange experience and increase the professionalism of the military personnel. The Minister of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov, the Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Türkiye, Hulusi Akar, and other officials visited the training ground to watch the exercises.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning that the Shusha Declaration signed by Azerbaijan and Türkiye to take bilateral relations to the level of alliance refers to comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, including in the field of defence. According to the document, in the event of a threat or encroachment on the independence or territorial integrity of any of the parties by a third state, Baku and Ankara will provide each other with the necessary assistance. Signing Shusha Declaration has therefore enhanced the legal and political framework for bilateral military interaction.
It is worth noting that the upward trend in Azerbaijan’s military-technical cooperation with Türkiye had already observed before the 44-day war. Türkiye, as one of the main arms exporters to Azerbaijan, supplied high-precision weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles, which ultimately played a key role in Azerbaijan’s victory in the fall of 2020.
In addition, the “Fraternal Fist” conducted by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan and Türkiye has once again attracted the attention of regional and global actors to the South Caucasus. “Brotherhood and friendship” between Azerbaijan and Turkey is an example for the whole world, said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.
Furthermore, owning a strong army is a justified prerequisite for achieving sustainable peace. In this vein, Türkiye plays an important role in modernizing and maintaining the level of combat capability of the Azerbaijan Armed Forces. Thanks to this, Azerbaijan has an absolute military superiority over Armenia which significantly gives confidence to the Azerbaijani side in the diplomatic process. But on the contrary, even under these conditions, Armenia still tries to avoid signing a peace treaty.
Taking this fact into account, one can say that Azerbaijan-Türkiye military-political cooperation in the South Caucasus is one of the fundamental factors of the balance of power in the region. Azerbaijan and Türkiye are able to show themselves in tandem as strong regional player capable of exerting a significant influence on the resolution of regional issues accordingly.
Overall, all this allows us to conclude that Azerbaijan’s allied relationship with Türkiye, particularly in the field of defence and military is bringing tangible benefits to the wider region.
Naghi Ahmadov, a senior fellow at the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center) especially for News.Az