Turkey and Azerbaijan are set to conduct large-scale joint military exercises in Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on July 27.
“According to the plan, exercises involving the land forces will be held from August 1 to 5 in Baku and Nakhchivan,” the statement read.
“The joint exercises, it added, will involve military personnel, armored vehicles, artillery mounts, and mortars, as well as military aviation and air defense equipment.”
“Exercises with the participation of military aviation will be held from July 29 to Aug. 10 – in Baku, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Kurdamir, and Yevlakh.”
Turkish troops and equipment already started deployment in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan:
The announcement of the joint drills came just days after the escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in the Tovuz region. At least 11 Azerbaijani soldiers – including a major general and a colonel – were killed. Azerbaijan blamed Armenia for aggressive actions and instigating the conflict. Turkey declared a full support to Azaerbaijan claiming that it would not hesitate to support its eastern neighbor in the conflict.
Armenia, in own turn, blaimed Azerbaijan for the escalating saying that it started with an attack of Azerbaijani forces on Armenian positions. The deployment of Turkish forces in Azerbaijan and the announced joint drills were described by the Armenian Foreign Ministry as a threat to the regional security. It added that the announcement was made just a day after an Armenian soldier was killed by sniper fire on the border with Azerbaijan.
“All this testifies to the fact that the leadership of Azerbaijan … hinders the efforts of international mediators to settle the situation and resume the peace process,” the Armenian side said.
It is also interesting to note that the Armenian leadership continues to repeat mantras about some ‘international mediators’ that should help to de-escalate the sitaution and rescue Armenia in the event of an open conflict with Azerbaijan and Turkey. In fact, no country besides Russia will lift finger to really help Yerevan. Nonetheless, the foreign policy of the Armenian leadership in previous years was clearly aimed at undermining its relations with Russia and pleasing its ‘Western partners’. Therefore, the Armenian government’s actions put the entire country in a pretty dangerous position in the region.
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