Recent large-scale military drills performed jointly by Turkey and Azerbaijan have demonstrated the power, bravery and defense capabilities of both nations' armed forces, according to an Azerbaijani lawmaker.
"The military partnership constitutes an important vector of Azerbaijan-Turkey strategic cooperation," Sevil Mikayilova, an Azerbaijani parliamentarian, told Anadolu Agency (AA) Tuesday.
Referring to the 13-day joint military exercises – which ended on Monday – a "source of pride" for both nations, Mikayilova said the drills, which involved both air and ground forces, were not the first of their kind, as the two countries have been holding such exercises on a regular basis since 2015, sometimes in partnership with neighboring Georgia.
Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey is not directed against any other country or group, she stressed, referring to cooperation as "for the sake of peace and partnership" springing from the two states' historical and cultural roots and ethnic identity.
"For Azerbaijan, Turkey is the closest ally and fraternal country," Mikayilova said.
Turkey and Azerbaijan, with the participation of the countries' air and ground forces, launched joint military drills in the wake of recent Armenian attacks on Azerbaijani border points.
The war exercises began on July 29, with Aug. 5 being the last day of ground engagements – including artillery, armored vehicles and mortars striking simulated targets – in the capital Baku and the exclave of Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan's autonomous region bordering Turkey. Air combat drills involving jets and helicopters continued in Baku, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Kurdamir and Yevlakh until Monday.
Mikayilova also underlined that Ankara had always supported Baku's "fair position" on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"We are grateful to brotherly Turkey for the immediate support it demonstrated during the last attacks," she said.
"Turkey has many times stated that they regard the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as a domestic issue and that Ankara would never change its position on this problem."
Last month, Armenia attacked Azerbaijani troops in the northwestern Tovuz border region. As a result, at least 12 Azerbaijani soldiers, including a major general and a colonel, were killed and another four soldiers wounded. A 76-year-old Azerbaijani citizen also lost his life.
Azerbaijan accused Armenia of taking "provocative" actions, with Ankara warning Yerevan it would not hesitate to stand against any kind of attack on Azerbaijan.
Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, has been under illegal Armenian occupation since 1991.
International organizations, including the United Nations, have demanded the withdrawal of the occupational forces.
Relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan are seen as "exemplary worldwide" and are developing at a high level in almost every sphere, she said.
Unity between the two countries lays the groundwork for all regional cooperation formats, Mikayilova said, adding that this unity promotes regional peace and cooperation.
Following the recent skirmishes on the frontier, there is currently "a relative calm" on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia, but overall, the situation remains "highly tense," she said.
The lawmaker highlighted that frequent armistice breaches on the line of contact were another "source of tension" showing how "fragile" the cease-fire agreement remained.
"So we feel a colossal threat to our western borders from the part of Armenia, and war could flare up any moment due to Armenia's unpredictable behavior and provocations."
The recent attacks on Azerbaijani positions in Tovuz were not random but had "precise aims," said Mikayilova.
Mikayilova stressed that the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was a threat to regional security.
She said over the last quarter-century the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group had been "quite an ineffective platform" for resolving the conflict.
The OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States, was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict but to no avail.
"The OSCE Minsk Group failed to create an available mechanism or initiate any proposal to push the peace diplomacy from the deadlock. Organizing talks between the conflicting sides just for the sake of talks and making a declarative statement just for the sake of a statement could not change the status quo in the negotiation process," she said.
Mikayilova urged the group to impose "strict sanctions" on the aggressor country – Armenia – to fulfill its international obligations.
"The OSCE Minsk Group needs to distinguish an aggressor country from a country subjected to aggression."
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