Ara Papyan, Founder, and Head of the Modus Vivendi Center, Ambassador Extraordinary, and Plenipotentiary, Stepan Grigoryan, Director of the Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation, Hayk Khanumyan, MP of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (via video call), were the speakers of the discussion.
Azerbaijan-Turkey Joint Military Exercises are held in Azerbaijan on May 1-5. As a reply to the question how these exercises can impact on the region and in particularly on the change of the forces on the Karabakh conflict zone, Stepan Grigoryan said such military exercises contain some risks, anyway it is a predictable and understandable procedure.
“Azerbaijan-Turkey alliance is clear for us, their activity has always been against us, we should always be watchful but it is not the main risk for the Armenian people. The most dangerous is the Russian-Turkish rapprochement as Russia proceeds from its own interests, not in a strategic but in a tactical sense,” Grigoryan highlighted.
According to Khanumyan, such exercises are aimed at improving the level of preparedness of the Azeri army, especially in terms of sabotage, for which the Armenian side is ready since the April War in 2016.
“A significant part of the cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan refers to the preparation of subversive groups and the conduct of diversionary reconnaissance groups. Compared with April last year, the situation on the border is quite different now, as since April, some work has been carried out on the front line. First of all, it is the frontline technical equipment, which enables the tracking devices and cameras to track the enemy’s movements and almost exclude the probability of subversive penetration ability,” Khanumyan said, adding that if the front modernization had been carried out since 2011, the Armenian side would have avoided such a big number of victims.
Speaking about the probability of the conflict escalation, the MP said: “The risk for large-scale war always exists, but there is no risk of war as it was in April or in August 2014.”
Ara Papyan, in his turn, said that such exercises are aimed at the creation and strengthening of the Azerbaijani regular army.
“Azerbaijan has weapons, has human resources but has no army, and the Azerbaijani-Turkish military exercises aim creating effective, efficient army at in Azerbaijan. They attempt to make it even involving small military units from Turkey. It is clear that Turkey's goal is not to be directly involved in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Turkey might give weapons and human resources but Azerbaijan already has it,” Papyan said.
Referring to the rumors about the deployment of the Turkish military bases in Azerbaijan, he stated that Turkey does not need to have military bases in Azerbaijan, he is working on completely different model in our neighboring country.
“Turkey does not need a military base in Nakhichevan in the classic sense. It will create a basis in Nakhchivan that will enable the deployment of special units regularly in tense situations which has been done since 1991 and used against Armenia. Let us not forget that the 4 generals and 250 officers of the Turkish army were involved in the army and fought against us during the war in Karabakh,” Papyan said.
The speakers also referred to the recent failures of the Armenian diplomacy in the context of Karabakh conflict criticizing the last meeting of Moscow with the participation of the foreign ministers of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan.
They also stressed that to strengthen Armenia's position in the region we should start from the normalization of Armenia's internal problems such as corruption, inefficient internal and external policies that are as dangerous for Armenia as the Azerbaijani-Turkish alliance and joint exercises.
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