Azerbaijan, Türkiye, & Georgia's cooperation through 'Caucasus Eagle-2024' & beyond
    Beefing up tolerance to regional threats

    ANALYTICS  12 June 2024 - 17:03

    Fuad Muxtar-Agbabali

    Azerbaijan, Türkiye, and Georgia enjoy a strong and friendly political relationship, rooted in shared histories and mutual support. Since gaining independence, Baku and Tbilisi have cultivated close ties, overcoming similar challenges imposed by neighboring empires in the XIX-XX centuries, with additional complexities stemming from the enduring consequences of centuries-long occupation.

    The political relationship between Azerbaijan and Georgia has been particularly notable. Both nations regained their independence around the same time and faced similar fates. Their shared experiences have forged a bond characterized by mutual understanding and support. Political contacts at the highest levels have been frequent, with Azerbaijani presidents and Georgian government officials making reciprocal visits to strengthen their ties further.

    Economic & energy cooperation

    The cooperation between these nations extends significantly into the economic and energy sectors. Azerbaijan exports its gas and oil to the West via Georgia and Türkiye, routes that proved vital when Azerbaijani lands were under Armenian occupation. Georgia served as the sole exit point for Azerbaijan's natural resources, essential for rebuilding the national economy and supporting nearly one million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

    Azerbaijani oil major SOCAR's involvement in Georgia has been a cornerstone of this relationship. Starting from the early years of independence, SOCAR's activities have included oil, and gas supplies, crucially supporting Georgia during its civil unrest. This economic cooperation has only deepened over the years, benefiting both nations and strengthening their interdependence.

    Military collaboration

    Military cooperation among Azerbaijan, Türkiye, and Georgia is robust, involving bilateral and trilateral engagements. Türkiye has played a crucial role in upgrading the Georgian and Azerbaijani armies to NATO standards. Special Forces from these countries regularly participate in multi-level military and tactical exercises, enhancing their capabilities with state-of-the-art equipment.

    A significant aspect of this military collaboration is the annual ‘Caucasus Eagle’ drills. These exercises are a testament to the deepening military ties among the three nations, showcasing their commitment to mutual defense and regional stability.

    Caucasus Eagle-2024 military drills

    The ‘Caucasus Eagle-2024’ joint exercise exemplifies the military collaboration between Azerbaijan, Türkiye, and Georgia. Held in Azerbaijan, the exercises included Special Forces from the three nations and demonstrated high professionalism and strategic coordination.

    Throughout the exercises, the Special Forces conducted various operations, including:

    Defensive and Camouflage Tactics: Utilizing the terrain and camouflage to raid the enemy's location.

    Strategic Raids: Targeting command points, communication links, and neutralizing enemy forces.

    Night Operations: Performing tasks under limited visibility to approach and neutralize the enemy.

    The tasks were accomplished with high efficiency, showcasing the Special Forces' readiness and coordination.

    High-level participation at distinguished visitors’ day

    The Distinguished Visitors Day of the ‘Caucasus Eagle-2024” exercises saw participation from the leadership of the Azerbaijan Defense Ministry, various state institutions, and high-ranking officers from Türkiye, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

    Attendees observed the Special Forces' capabilities and were briefed on the exercises' progress. Col-Gen Zakir Hasanov emphasized the importance of such joint exercises in developing a professional army, enhancing mutual experience exchange, and contributing to regional peace and stability.

    Bilateral relations and prospects

    On June 10, when the drills were underway, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Col-Gen Zakir Hasanov met with Georgia's Defense Minister Irakli Chikovani to discuss further cooperation. The two ministers, in particular, discussed Azerbaijan’s demining efforts, planned military events, and the upcoming ADEX exhibition in Baku.

    Commitment to sovereignty: Reaffirming support for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

    Future cooperation: Prospects for enhancing defense ties and contributing to regional security.

    During their meeting, the ministers discussed the enduring friendship and mutual trust between their countries. They highlighted the importance of post-war demining efforts in Azerbaijan, noting the severe impact of landmines on civilian and military populations. The ministers also outlined plans for 21 joint military events in 2024, underscoring the dynamic and evolving nature of their defense cooperation.

     

    Zakir Hasanov invited his Georgian counterpart to the 5th Azerbaijan International Defence Exhibition (ADEX) in Baku, set for September. This event is expected to further solidify their defense partnership and explore new avenues for collaboration.

    Mr. Chikovani expressed his satisfaction with his first visit to Azerbaijan as defense minister and vice prime minister. He acknowledged the importance of such meetings in developing and expanding the existing relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia. The discussions also emphasized the significance of joint exercises like “Caucasus Eagle” in enhancing the professionalism of their armed forces and fostering mutual understanding.

    The role of Türkiye in regional stability

    Türkiye's involvement in the region has been instrumental in bringing the Georgian and Azerbaijani armies to NATO standards. Turkish political, economic, and humanitarian support for Georgia since the early years of its independence has been steadfast. Tbilisi has welcomed Türkiye's comprehensive engagement, which has helped stabilize and develop the country.

    Türkiye's support for Georgia is multifaceted, encompassing political backing, economic investments, and military cooperation. This support is crucial for Georgia, especially in light of its strategic aspirations and security challenges. Türkiye's role in joint military exercises, such as ‘Caucasus Eagle”, further strengthens the trilateral cooperation and enhances the overall security framework of the region.

    Conclusion

    The ‘Caucasus Eagle-2024’ exercise and ongoing diplomatic engagements underscore the deepening cooperation between Azerbaijan, Türkiye, and Georgia. This partnership not only strengthens their military capabilities but also fosters economic, political, and social ties, contributing to the stability and prosperity of the region.

    The trilateral cooperation is a model of regional collaboration, reflecting a shared commitment to security, development, and mutual support. As these nations continue to work together, they pave the way for a more stable and prosperous future, setting an example for other regions facing similar challenges.

    Caliber.Az

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