Prospects for a "Turkic NATO" as global danger persists
    Analyzing feasibility & implications

    ANALYTICS  18 June 2024 - 18:30

    Fuad Muxtar-Agbabali

    In an era where global peace and stability are increasingly threatened, the idea of forming a military alliance among Turkic-speaking nations akin to NATO has resurfaced. Prompted by Kyrgyzstan's recent proposal to Azerbaijan, this concept seeks to leverage historical alliances, shared values, and mutual interests to enhance regional security. This article delves into the feasibility, potential structure, and implications of establishing such an alliance, tentatively dubbed the "Turkic NATO" or "Army of Turan," especially within regional dynamics involving major powers like Turkey, Iran, and Russia.

    Historical context and rationale

    Historically, military alliances have played pivotal roles in shaping global and regional security landscapes. From the successful NATO to the now-defunct Warsaw Pact, these blocs have varied effectiveness and impact. For the Turkic-speaking nations, the motivation to form a military bloc stems from persistent regional instability, including poverty, ethnic conflicts, and geopolitical tensions. The occupation of Azerbaijan's territories by Armenia, despite international recognition of these lands as Azerbaijani, underscores the need for a robust defense mechanism. Azerbaijan's decisive victory in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war demonstrated the potential for a unified military effort among Turkic nations.

    Potential structure & objectives

    Formation and Membership: The alliance could initially comprise Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, all of which share linguistic and cultural ties. This core group could eventually expand to include other interested Turkic-speaking states.

    Command Structure: A centralized command, akin to NATO's structure, would be essential. Each member state would contribute military personnel and resources, with command responsibilities rotating among member nations.

    Primary objectives:

    Collective defense: Similar to NATO's Article 5, an attack on one member would be considered an attack on all, ensuring collective defense.

    Counter-terrorism: Coordinated efforts to combat terrorism, insurgency, and cross-border threats.

    Humanitarian assistance: Providing aid during natural disasters and humanitarian crises within member states.

    Peacekeeping operations: Deploying joint forces for peacekeeping missions under the UN or regional mandates.

    Financial considerations

    The establishment and maintenance of a Turkic NATO would require substantial financial investment. Based on NATO's budget and the economic capacities of the potential member states, initial estimates suggest annual costs could range from $1 to $3 billion, depending on the scope of operations and the scale of joint exercises and infrastructure development.

    Comparative analysis with regional powers

    Turkey: As a NATO member with a strong military, Turkey's involvement would provide strategic and operational expertise. Its experience in NATO could help shape the alliance's structure and enhance interoperability with NATO forces.

    Iran: While Iran's regional ambitions and relationships are complex, its position as a neighboring power would necessitate careful diplomatic engagement to avoid escalation and ensure regional stability.

    Russia: Historically a dominant regional force, Russia's response to a Turkic military bloc would be crucial. The alliance would need to navigate its formation without provoking unnecessary conflict with Russia, possibly seeking diplomatic channels to maintain a balance of power.

    Precedents & strategic importance

    The world has witnessed regional military alliances before, though none perfectly parallel the proposed Turkic NATO. For instance, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has a collective security mechanism, but its efficacy has been limited. The Arab League's Joint Defense Pact also serves as a model, though it has seen varied success. The proposed Turkic NATO would need to learn from these examples, ensuring strong political will, adequate funding, and effective coordination among member states.

    Conclusion

    The proposal for a Turkic NATO, while ambitious, is grounded in the strategic need for enhanced regional security and cooperation among Turkic-speaking nations. With Azerbaijan potentially playing a leading role, bolstered by its recent military successes, the alliance could offer a new paradigm for regional stability. However, careful planning, substantial investment, and diplomatic finesse will be essential to navigate the complex geopolitical landscape and establish a viable and effective military alliance.

    Caliber.Az

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