Turkey Wants Military Bases in Azerbaijan

BAKU (ANS TV)–The Azeri News Service Television reported that Turkey is working on a new blueprint for cooperation with the Caucasus. The Turkish government Wednesday told the "Xabarci" news program that the blueprint would serve to ensure a fair resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

A Turkish official quoted in the program said Turkey will create a military base in Azerbaijan or modernize one of the old bases in the country. This is one of the main points in the new blueprint for political cooperation between Turkey and the Caucasus. This blueprint will be the focus of attention during Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit’s negotiations with official Washington. According to this document–Turkey is to strengthen its position in Azerbaijan and quickly develop strategic cooperation with Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Former Turkish President Suleyman Demirel–and Azeri President Haydar Aliyev came forward with an initiative to create a stability pact in the Caucasus. It is true that this pact did not find its logical continuation. Now Ankara intends to implement the ideas stemming from this pact. The establishment of a military base in Azerbaijan is the first sign of cooperation within the framework of these measures. Official Ankara thinks that Turkey’s role in the region will significantly increase. The Turkish government thinks that events will develop in such a way that Ankara will have its say in the resolution of the Karabakh problem.

ANS TV also reported that a Turkish military base might be opened in Azerbaijan. A military accord between Azerbaijan and Turkey–as well as Ankara’s growing interest in the region–is bringing this possibility closer to reality. The opening of one country’s military base on the territory of another country leads to the modernization of the latter’s military forces.

There are two military bases in Azerbaijan which could meet NATO standards. One of them is in Baku–the other near Kurdamir (in central Azerbaijan). These airports–built before Azerbaijan gained its independence from the former Soviet Union–are capable of receiving various types of military aircraft.

In general–military airports that correspond to NATO standards implies any military unit corresponding to the former Soviet dialectics. Ordinary bases have broader operational and tactical possibilities.

In this sense–transforming a military airport (in Azerbaijan) into a base could give Turkey the opportunity to implement its strategic interests in the region.

NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Rafael Estrella is visiting Baku on January 16. Azerbaijan’s associated member status in the assembly will be discussed during the visit. From a geostrategic standpoint–Azerbaijan must have a Turkish military base to become a member of NATO. Ultimately–the opening of a Turkish base in Azerbaijan could play a decisive role in the Baku’s official position regarding the Karabakh settlement.

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