Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan Agree to Deepen Strategic cooperation
By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Monday, April 2
On 1 April, in Giresun, Turkey, defense ministerial of Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan was held. The minister of the host country thanked his colleagues for the visit and talked about the common challenges of the three states. At the end of the meeting, Levan Izoria, Nuretin Janikli, and General Zakir Hasanov agreed to deepen cooperation with the signing the Memorandum of Defense Cooperation.
At the joint conference, colleagues discussed the projects planned within the framework of the Defense Cooperation Memorandum. According to Levan Izoria, cooperation between the three countries is exemplary in the region: "I am pleased to sign a memorandum which considers more extended formats of cooperation and adequately reflects the dynamics we've received over the years and provides us with the best base for future development," – stated Izoria.
Memorandum of cooperation signed with neighbors is very important for Georgia due to its complex geopolitical situation. However, the existed conflicts between the neighbor countries of the Caucasus region hinders cooperation and development of the region. The fact that Armenia is not a member of the memorandum, is caused by hostility to Azerbaijan and Turkey. It can be assumed that the countries of the region are divided into two camps: Pro-NATO and Pro-CSTO (Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization). Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which also includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Because of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Armenia has a tense relationship with Azerbaijan and therefore, with Turkey which is a military and political ally of Azerbaijan; In 2016, Armenia and Russia signed an agreement on the creation of united military unit; In 2017, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey signed a trilateral military defense memorandum.
Analyzing past joint multinational military drills and participation of the Caucasus countries in it, it serves as a good indicator of the geopolitical situation in the region.
In 2017 Armenia’s at the last moment declined to participate in NATO multinational military drill. It is hard to say that the decision not to take part in exercises, was caused because of pressure of Russia, or because of the fact that Azerbaijan was taking part in it. Russia has voiced a number of times that it would not welcome NATO’s presence close to its borders.
Here’s a short overview of military drills that have taken place in the region since 2015:
The Caucasian Eagle - Hosted by Turkey, participants: Georgia and Azerbaijan; Armenia and Russia were not involved;
The Agile Spirit 2015 - Hosted by Georgia, participants: United States. Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia. No neighboring countries were involved;
The Noble Partner 2015 - Hosted by Georgia, participants: The U.S. No neighboring countries were involved;
The “Aragats 2015” - Hosted by Armenia, participants: Russia, Georgia. Turkey and Azerbaijan were not involved.
The Caucasian Eagle - Hosted by Turkey, participants: Georgia, Azerbaijan. Armenia and Russia were not involved;
The Agile Spirit 2016 - Hosted by Georgia; participants: The U.S. Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia; No neighbouring countries were involved.
The Noble Partner 2016 - Hosted by Georgia; participants: The U.S. Great Britain; No neighboring countries were involved.
Military drills at the Alagyaz shooting range - Hosted by Armenia; participants: Russia, Georgia. Turkey and Azerbaijan were not involved;
The Caucasian Eagle 2017 - Hosted by Georgia, participants: Turkey and Azerbaijan. Armenia and Russia have not been involved;
The Noble Partner 2017- Hosted by Georgia: participants: Turkey, U.S. England, Germany, Slovenia, Armenia, and Ukraine. Azerbaijan and Russia have not been involved.
The Agile Spirit 2017 - Hosted by Georgia; participants: Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Ukraine, Azerbaijan. Armenia decided not to participate at the last moment.
According to the list, we can see that none of Georgia's neighbors took part in the military exercises held in Georgia before 2017, but after Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey signed a trilateral military defense memorandum in 2017, Turkey and Azerbaijan are actively involved in the military drills held in Georgia.