By Ruslan Rehimov
BAKU (AA) - Turkey will be Azerbaijan’s number one partner in military and military-technical cooperation in the near future, President Ilham Aliyev said Thursday during a meeting with a delegation led by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
“As is the case in all other areas, our cooperation in the military and military-technical spheres is developing fast. It is no secret that Turkey possesses a strong military-industrial potential and we are benefiting from this potential,” said Aliyev.
He underlined that Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises reflect the unity and brotherhood between the two countries, noting that more than 10 joint exercises are held in both Turkey and Azerbaijan each year.
Aliyev said that with such exercises being commonplace, there is no reason for some countries to be concerned, as it is just another manifestation of Turkish-Azerbaijani unity and brotherhood.
During the visit, Akar condemned the recent attack by Armenia in Azerbaijan’s Tovuz district.
“Azerbaijan is not alone. We will continue to support Azerbaijan in its just struggle. In the struggle of Azerbaijan for the liberation of the occupied lands, we, Turkey with a population of 83 million, are next to our brothers,” he said.
Last month, Armenia attacked Azerbaijani troops in the northwestern Tovuz border region. At least 12 Azerbaijani soldiers were martyred, including a major general and a colonel. A 76-year-old Azerbaijani citizen also lost his life.
Azerbaijan accused Armenia of “provocative” actions, with Ankara warning Yerevan that it would not hesitate to stand against any kind of attack on Azerbaijan.
Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, has been under illegal Armenian occupation since 1991.
International organizations including the UN have demanded the withdrawal of the occupational forces.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia and the US, was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail.
The war games between the two countries began on July 29, and Aug. 5 was the last day of ground engagements taking place in the capital Baku and the exclave of Nakhchivan – Azerbaijan's autonomous region bordering Turkey – with artillery, armored vehicles and mortars striking simulated targets.
*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin