TODAY.AZ / Politics

Turkey attaching great importance to Azerbaijani defense industry’s development

27 July 2015 [17:52] - TODAY.AZ
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unsolved as recently tensions on the frontline of the Azerbaijani and Armenian armies have increased. The minister of national defense of Turkey Vecdi Gonul spoke to Trend on the pressing topic, as well as touched upon the Syrian crisis, fight against terrorism and other issues.

- What are the main reasons for the delay in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict? And based on what principles should the conflict be solved?

- The time has come to put an end to the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and other Azerbaijani lands within the principles of international law, that will ensure stability in the region. The recent developments along the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops once again prove the need for an immediate settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is the main obstacle to the establishment of peace and stability in the South Caucasus.

Stability and peace in the region are possible only in case of liberation of the occupied Azerbaijani territories and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

After the end of the “Cold War”, the occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia, and namely the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is one of the most important issues on international community’s agenda today.

For Azerbaijan Turkey is an opportunity to reach the West, and for Turkey Azerbaijan is the opportunity to reach the Central Asia. This fact has even more strengthened the two countries’ fraternal and friendly relations, which are more than a century old, and for this reason exactly, the Nagorno-Karabakh issue has become as important for Turkey, as it is for Azerbaijan.

Turkey is closely watching the processes related to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and supports the efforts to resolve it within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. At the multilateral platforms and during the dialogue with third countries, Turkey, as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, always raises the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is considered our problem as well.

But there is a fact that the OSCE Minsk Group hasn’t been able to achieve serious progress throughout 20 years in the conflict’s settlement. Turkey fully supports Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, since the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is one of the most important and priority issues in Ankara’s foreign policy. Turkey will continue to support the righteous fight of Azerbaijan and will always keep this issue on the agenda.

- How do you assess Azerbaijani-Turkish relations in the defense industry sphere? Which joint projects are planned to promote these relations?

- Alongside with developing political and economic relations, Ankara pays special attention to developing the relations in the defense industry sphere within the historic and brotherly relations with Azerbaijan.

Turkey attaches great importance to the development of not only its own defense industry sphere, but also that of Azerbaijan and takes into account Azerbaijan’s demands in this sphere. In this regard, in order to ensure the state needs, Turkey speaks for cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries.

Azerbaijan is the most important strategic partner for Turkey in the region and there are close relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey which produces military defense systems. I believe that both sides should make even more contribution in developing and strengthening the defense industry sphere.

The sides can strengthen the relations in the defense industry sphere by creating a model of open technology transfer and exchange of experience in defense industry. In order to do this, the sides should pay special attention to creating and developing Tactical Area Communications System (TASMUS), creating air force management and control system, electronic military system, as well as armored military vehicles.

Turkey and Azerbaijan can implement a number of projects to develop the defense industry sphere. I believe that the sides can cooperate in such spheres as construction of shipyards, creating service area for vessels, creating unmanned aircraft, optical and electro-optical products.

- Islamic State (IS) terrorists’ activity intensifies in Syria and Iraq every day. Is this a threat for Turkey? Is it enough to conduct just military operations to neutralize terrorists?

- Turkey takes the necessary measures to eliminate the danger imposed by the IS. Turkey cooperates with the countries united by a common goal. The country also supports the coalition forces by contributing to the fight against the IS.

The Turkish parliament adopted a mandate in 2012. According to it, Ankara may take any measures to combat terrorism and other threats against the country, reflect the danger that may arise from the terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, protect the interests of the country before and after the crisis. And this gives Turkey the right to fight against any kind of danger that poses a threat to the Turkish state’s safety.

Effective fight against the IS and ensuring the country’s security are among Turkey's priorities. Along with this, it is worth noting that the emergence and strengthening of the IS comes from the instability in Syria, which is supported by the Syrian regime.

As long as the forces feeding the IS aren’t removed, it won’t be possible to destroy it. In short, the fight against the IS will also contribute to stability and security in Syria. And this is possible through realization of the Geneva agreements, which will ensure the requirements of the Syrian people.

Political pressure must be put on the Syrian regime to achieve stability in that country and to start political negotiations. Only this way it is possible to achieve progress in this crisis, and after that a complete elimination of the IS will be possible. Along with this, it is needed to exchange intelligence data and to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. Iraq, which has made significant progress in the fight against the terrorism, can be an example.

- How do you assess the relations between Turkic-speaking countries? Which steps should be taken to develop them?

- Turkey speaks for developing the relations between Turkic-speaking countries. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, significant progress was achieved in developing the relations between Turkic-speaking states. However, on the other hand, currently, there are some structural problems between these countries due to geographic location and political principles.

Water resources management, problems related to borders, ethnic problems make the ethnic rapprochement between Turkic-speaking countries difficult. But all this doesn’t hinder the continuation of cooperation within historical and ethnic values.

Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan created the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States in 2010 as part of cooperation and developing the relations with Turkic-speaking countries and this is of special importance for developing the relations between the mentioned countries.

The goal of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States headquartered in Istanbul, is to consolidate and strengthen the economic relations between these states. Moreover, one of the goals of the Council is to strengthen the cultural relations between the Turkic-speaking countries. The Council’s fifth summit to be held in Kazakhstan in September 2015 will focus on the issues related to communications and media technologies.

In accordance with the status of neutrality, Turkmenistan is not a member of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States, but participates in some of its events. However, currently, Uzbekistan avoids ties with the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-speaking States.

Turkey has always supported the Turkic-speaking countries after they gained independence and spoke for developing the bilateral relations. TURKSOY, which is considered the UNESCO of Turkic world, was created in 1993 in order to develop the relations between the Turkic-speaking countries.

/By Trend/

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