Turkish servicemen to remain in Azerbaijan's Karabakh Region for one more year
The General Assembly of the Turkish Parliament adopted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bill to extend the service term of the Turkish servicemen in Azerbaijan for one more year. The extension will come into effect after the ongoing one-year mandate expires on November 17, 2021, Caspian News writes. Turkish servicemen arrived in Azerbaijan in January 2020 and have been stationed at the Turkish-Russian Joint Monitoring Center in Aghdam district of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region.
The center was launched on January 30, following a memorandum of understanding signed between Turkey and Russia on November 11, 2020. The facility consists of 65 modular buildings, including separate and joint monitoring centers, a briefing room, a canteen, a medical center, a laundry, as well as a water station, a parking lot, outdoor and indoor sports camps, warehouses, and others. The overall territory of the center measures four hectares in the vicinity of Aghdam’s recently liberated Marzili village.
A total of 120 combined Russian and Turkish personnel, including the unmanned aerial vehicle teams, are deployed at the center in equal numbers from both sides. The monitoring staff is led by Major General Abdullah Katirci from Turkey and Major General Viktor Fedorenko from Russia. Azerbaijani servicemen have been carrying out round-the-clock patrolling of the area.
The Turkish-Russian Joint Monitoring Center has been engaged in monitoring the ceasefire and hostilities, organizing joint activities to collect, summarize, and verify information on violations of existing agreements. In addition, it has been evaluating the obtained data to keep records of all cases of ceasefire violations, analyzing and studying other complaints, questions, and problems related to non-compliance by the parties with the agreements, and taking measures to prevent the violation of the ceasefire.
Turkish authorities are convinced that the center has been operating successfully and helping Ankara contribute to the regional security and the trust-building activities. “The continuation of the service of the Turkish Armed Forces personnel at the Joint Center is a requirement of Turkey’s effective and constructive role in the region and our national interests,” reads the newly approved presidential bill. Authorities of Azerbaijan consider the joint activities of Turkey and Russia at the center an essential factor for protecting stability and an effective tool for monitoring post-war developments in the region.
On September 27, 2020, the decades-old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan spiraled after Armenia’s forces deployed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. During the counter-attack operations that lasted 44 days, Azerbaijani forces liberated over 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, from nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation. The war ended in a tripartite statement signed on November 10 by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. Under the statement, Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan.