Greek-Armenian-Cyprus tripartite military cooperation: What is the goal?

by Javid Veliyev

On July 5, 2023, representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia, Greece and Cyprus came together on the Greek side of Cyprus and negotiated the possibilities of tripartite cooperation in defence area. According to Greek media during the consultations, various security and cooperation issues of mutual interest to the three countries were discussed. The parties reiterated their readiness to collaborate and take joint steps in order to strengthen the defense capability and military security of all three nations. As a result of the discussions, the annual program of trilateral military cooperation was signed, encompassing a range of events to be held in Armenia, Greece, and Cyprus.

At first glance, there does not seem to be any problem in this meeting between the representatives of the defense ministry of three independent countries. But there are some nuances here that pose a threat to the regional security.

First of all, this meeting threatens the normalization talks in the region after Azerbaijan's victory in Karabakh and the possibility of a peace agreement. In the process that we are going through a sensitive period in terms of regional peace, holding these talks has the feature of highlighting the military cooperation of the three countries and damaging the regional peace process. This situation becomes even more complicated when we consider that there are strong groups with revanchist feelings among the Armenian state officials and politicians.

On the other hand, while the Armenian as an aggressor state has occupied its neighbor's territory for 30 years, should be punished in this regard, it is strange that it is supported militarily by a member state of the EU and NATO. The Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, Alen Simonyan complained that The European Union (EU) has refused to provide military aid to Armenia from a special fund designed to increase the defense capabilities of EU partners. However, the Greece, which is a member of the EU and NATO, is acting against the joint decision of the EU by developing military cooperation with Armenia. Here it is possible to say that Greece and Cyprus are in line with France. At this point, it is known that Greece and the Greek Cypriot side acted jointly with France in many issues, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean issue. It even caused the reaction of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. Considering the strategy of France to disrupt the ongoing peace talks in the South Caucasus, this tripartite cooperation is remarkable from this perspective.

On the other hand, mutual congratulatory messages were given between President Recep Tayyib Erdogan and the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis , who won victories after the recent elections in Türkiye and Greece. On the other hand, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited Turkey to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Erdogan, and after the visit Pashinyan declared that they were ready to develop relations with Türkiye . However, we see that on the one hand, positive messages are given, on the other hand, both states are developing military-defense cooperation against Türkiye and Azerbaijan. Therefore, this causes the intentions of both countries to be questioned.

As a result, Greece and Armenia, on the one hand, give messages to normalize their relations with Türkiye and Azerbaijan, on the other hand, they develop cooperation in the field of military-defense. This cooperation threatens the positive atmosphere in the region and harms the diplomatic solution of the conflict issues. Military cooperation of Greece with Armenia especially encourages the revanchists in Armenia.

Javid Valiyev, Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the Baku-based Center for the International Relations Analysis (AIR Center), exclusively for News.Az 

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