BAKU—Citing the Turkish proverb, “if you want peace, prepare for war,” Turkey’s Defense Minister on Thursday underscored the importance of military cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan as he kicked off talks in Baku.
The Turkish delegation led by Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz met with Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel General Safar Abiyev, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry press service reported.
The ministers exchanged view on the prospects of military cooperation between the two countries.
Discussing the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the ministers said that the time has come to withdraw “Armenian occupation army from the Azerbaijani lands and restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”
Abiyev said that although negotiations continue for peaceful settlement of the conflict, there is no concrete result yet and Armenia continues its aggressive policy. He said, in such situation, there is no other way for Azerbaijan except preparing its armed forces seriously.
“We are ready to support, cooperate and join in production with Azerbaijan Armed Forces,” Yılmaz told journalists after visiting former Azerbaijani President Haydar Aliyev’s grave in Baku.
“A bilateral strategic cooperation agreement [between Turkey and Azerbaijan] has been signed. Turkish Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] and [Azerbaijani] President Ilham Aliyev have also decided on the establishment of a high advisory council,” Yılmaz said.
The council will be the basis for the relations between the two countries, Yılmaz said, adding that there were good and sound relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Prior to arriving in Baku, Yilmaz was interviewed by the Azeri news agency APA, saying that Turkey would like to engage in more defense production with Azerbaijan.
“Turkey and Azerbaijan have a comprehensive military partnership based on long years and mutual confidence. Our relations, which started after Azerbaijan regained its independence, have developed with education, training and other programs. We continue making efforts to unite our potential in the defence industry. We can see that the relevant bodies of the two countries have a shared demand and desire,” said Yilmaz.
“As the Turkish proverb says: ‘If you want peace, prepare for war.’ The presence of factors threatening stability in the South Caucasus poses a serious threat to Azerbaijan’s independence and regional peace,” added Yilmaz who explained that approximately 5,000 Azerbaijanis have received military education in Turkey to date
“We aim to develop our military and defence relations with Azerbaijan. The education of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in accordance with NATO standards, weapons and maintenance is very important for the region’s stability. Turkey supports Azerbaijan’s relations with NATO and other Western organizations. We think that Azerbaijan-NATO cooperation within Partnership for Peace is profitable and that this cooperation is significant from the point of view of Azerbaijan’s economic and political interests,” added Yilmaz.