Unlike its neighbors, Azerbaijan has long shied away from close partnerships with either the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the Russia-dominated Collective Security Organization. A recent military compact with Turkey, however, suggests that Baku may be preparing to change that strategic game plan.
The Agreement on Strategic Partnership and Mutual Support, ratified by Azerbaijan’s parliament on December 21, pledges that both Turkey and Azerbaijan will support each other “using all possibilities” in the case of a military attack or “aggression” against either of the countries. Plans to upgrade hardware for joint military operations, cooperation in “military-technical” areas, joint military exercises and training sessions are also specified, but details are not provided.
The agreement would last for 10 years and would be renewed by default for another decade if neither side expresses a wish to end it. The Turkish parliament is expected to vote on ratifying the deal by the end of January, Trend news agency reported.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter based in Baku. He is also a board member of the Open Society Assistance Foundation - Azerbaijan.