The tactical exercise featured special forces and intelligence forces, among others

Turkey and Azerbaijan conduct joint military manoeuvres in Nakhichevan


The press service of Azerbaijan's Defence Ministry reported on Monday 20 the launch of the Indestructible Brotherhood 2021 military exercise in cooperation with Turkey. The manoeuvres were carried out with "motorised infantry units, special forces and intelligence units, as well as military of other branches", according to the official report. The Azeri communiqué itself stated that it had begun "joint tactical live-fire manoeuvres in the Lachin region in accordance with the Agreement on Military Cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Turkey".

The aim of these actions in Nakhichevan - an autonomous republic belonging to Azerbaijan that shares a border with Armenia, Iran and Turkey - is to "improve interoperability, combat coordination (...) and decision-making of military commanders", as well as their "unit control capabilities". The two countries are currently focusing their efforts on improving the handling of new-generation military equipment and other military assets in "difficult terrain".  


The event was attended by various representatives of the Brotherhood countries. Azerbaijan was represented by the Minister of Defence, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov, and the head of the State Security Service, Ali Naghiyev. The Director General of Security and Counterterrorism of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mumtaz Hussain, was also present, as was Omer Ertugrul Erbakan, Commander of the Special Forces Division of the Turkish Army. They were accompanied by military personnel from their respective countries and some high-ranking guests from Kazakhstan.

This military act comes at an important moment due to the situation in the region around Nakhichevan. Just a few days ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and his willingness to engage in talks with his country: "We are open to negotiate, and we will do it. If he (Pashinian) is genuinely sincere and shows it, the dialogue can start. I am confident of a positive breakthrough and the opening of the corridor". Ankara hopes for the opening of communications with the very site where the military exercises have taken place.


On the other hand, Azerbaijani-Turkish relations appear to be increasingly productive. Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Mus said less than a fortnight ago that, far from being rival economies, they see each other as very supportive. Moreover, the minister himself assured that his country "wishes to develop more economic activities with Azerbaijan". Erdogan sees Baku as one of his strongest regional allies, which is why he has never hesitated to take Azerbaijan's side in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh.

Hostilities ceased on 10 November 2020, after six weeks of fighting and thousands of casualties on both sides. The joint declaration by the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan put an end to a harsh spiral of violence. Thanks to this agreement, Russian peacekeepers landed in the conflict zone and are expected to remain there for at least the next five years. In addition, the exchange of prisoners of war and the retention of their current positions are some of the clauses included in the tripartite declaration. In this way, the Russian military will be in control of the dividing line between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, as well as the Lachin corridor, which connects Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia.