Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey say plan to carry out joint military exercises

Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia will carry out joint military exercises, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov said here on Sunday, after a meeting among defense ministers of the three countries.

“We considered it appropriate to hold trilateral joint exercises to improve combat readiness and mutual vigilance of the three countries, cooperate in the field of military training in a trilateral format, develop cooperation in the field of cyber security and hold exercises for the protection of oil and gas pipelines,” Hasanov told reporters after a trilateral meeting with his Turkish and Georgian counterparts in Gabala, a small town 200 km northwest of Baku.

The minister has not specified the time of the exercises, which have also taken place in past years.

The fourth trilateral meeting of the Azerbaijani, Georgian, and Turkish defense ministers was held in Gabala on Sunday.

Hasanov, Georgian minister Tinatin Khidasheli and the National Defence Minister of the Republic of Turkey Ismet Yilmaz held one-on-one and trilateral negotiations.

They also discussed military and political situation in the region, as well as security issues. They emphasized the importance of stability in the region. The meeting also focused on recent escalation of situation along the contact line of Armenian and Azerbaijani troops.

The first initiative of military cooperation between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia emerged in 2013 and was followed by the first official meeting of the defense ministers on the sidelines of NATO Ministerial in Brussels, in June 2014.

Further meetings of the ministers in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan in August 2014 and in Georgia’s Tbilisi in April 2015 put forward the planning and execution of joint training exercises in view of protecting the region’s strategic energy-transport infrastructure. (Xinhua)