Turkey-Azerbaijan Relations Knit Even Closer Together

09/08/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  Nearly one year since the start of the 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh), Turkey and Azerbaijan are once again holding joint military exercises, although this time with potential greater future implications. The trainings took place in Lachin, part of a strategic corridor now within Azerbaijani territory but also connects Armenia to the rest of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Following the ceasefire agreement in November 2020, the corridor was to remain open under the temporary efforts of Russian peacekeepers. The military exercises were conducted to improve the cooperation between Turkish and Azeri forces.

On July 28 Turkish parliament member speaker, Mustafa Şentop, announced during a press conference the need to expand economic cooperation between the two countries and to create a joint Turkic army. The coordination of these military trainings and Turkey’s increasing interest in Azerbaijan, including the “one nation, two states” mentality, mirrors Turkish President Erdoğan’s expressed desire to rebuild the Ottoman Empire.

Azerbaijan remains heavily dependent on Turkey, militarily, economically, and socio-politically. This was recently emphasized during the signing of the Shushi Declaration. Turkey’s encroaching presence in Azerbaijan also alienates the latter from former allies such as Iran. Ethnic Azeris constitute about one-third of Iran’s population, requiring Turkey to leverage itself ahead of Iran and encourage Azerbaijan to adopt Turkey’s worldview and alliances.

Turkey’s partnership and friendship with Azerbaijan threatens the security of not only Christian Armenians who suffered from the alliance during and post-war but also regional Christians who are a direct threat to the pan-Turkish identity being sought after.

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