Tbilisi, Baku and Ankara trying to work out formula for military-political and military-technical cooperation
A trilateral meeting of the Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish defense ministers was held in Batumi on May 23. After the meeting, Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria, his Turkish counterpart Fikri Isik and the head of the Azerbaijani defense ministry, Zakir Hasanov, signed a joint statement, which states that the countries will continue to participate in ensuring peace and stability at the regional and international levels.
The meeting was held as part of the two-day working visit by the delegation of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry led by Zakir Hasanov to Tbilisi. The delegation visited Georgia at the invitation of Defense Minister Levan Izoria. As a rule, the talks of heads of defense ministers are held behind closed doors. Zakir Hasanov's visit was no exception. There is very little information on the essence of the talks and their results from the official sources. But even this scanty information, as well as statements by the parties at the press briefing and some protocol events, provide grounds for some conclusions or food for thought.
Azerbaijan's Defense Minister laid a wreath at the Memorial to Georgian soldiers who died in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Speaking at a joint press conference, Zakir Hasanov said that full agreement has been reached on the need to respect the territorial integrity of the states: "We unanimously stressed inviolability of the territorial integrity of both Azerbaijan and Georgia," Colonel-General Hasanov stressed. He congratulated the Georgian people on the upcoming Independence Day, which is celebrated on May 26, and expressed confidence that the cooperation in the field of defense and security between the two countries will be "successfully developed."
Levan Izoria, in turn, spoke in favor of developing links between the defense ministries "both on a bilateral and a tripartite basis." Answering the question of Vestnik Kavkaza of whether they plan to create a permanent format of cooperation in the military or military-political sphere, an employee of the press center of the Georgian Defense Ministry replied vaguely that "of course, a joint document will be adopted following the results".
Achieving modus operandi in such a delicate sphere is not an easy task, since all three sides, according to the 'do no harm' principle, must consider a wide range of accompanying geopolitical considerations, including the factor of other Caucasian states: Georgia maintains relations with Armenia, including in the military sphere. And Azerbaijan and Turkey are in constant dialogue with Russia.
Nevertheless, Tbilisi, Baku and Ankara are trying to work out a common, mutually beneficial formula for military-political and military-technical cooperation. This is evidenced by the fact that the topic of regional security was also in the focus during the working visit of the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to Georgia, who arrived in Tbilisi on Monday for talks with the head of the Georgian government.