Turkish-Georgian-Azerbaijani Military Bloc: Is It Possible? – OpEd
The ten-day Turkish-Georgian-Azerbaijani military drills, the Caucasus Eagle, with the participation of special operations forces, ended in Turkey on June 14, 2017. The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan said that in September this year that joint computer-assisted staff-level exercises will also take place among the soldiers of the armed forces of these three countries.
Indeed, we see that the representatives of the countries’ military command meet each other on a regular basis.
However, along with the positive aspects of the trilateral cooperation of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, the chances that it will grow into a full-fledged regional military and political bloc, are minimal.
The ideological basis of the tripartite union is the thesis that “despite our differences, we are united”. As such, the foreign policy objectives of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are too different from each other for the creation of a more permanent military bloc. It’s not a simple task to combine the Euro-Atlanticism of Georgia, the neutrality of the Azerbaijan and Turkey’s expansionism even in case that these countries have common interests in the energy sector. Additionally, if Ankara is ready to support Baku in the Karabakh conflict, Georgia and Armenia have close economic ties.
There is no doubt that Tbilisi won’t dare to risk those ties for the sake of the integrity of the tripartite union. The prospect of a military alliance is not disputed by the representatives of the foreign and defense ministers of the three countries, but the key point of strengthening cooperation is the development of energy and transport fields.
Recently it was claimed by Mesut Özcan, acting chairman of Turkish Foreign Ministry’s Center of Strategic Research that the strength of unions is checked by time and it depends on the interests of the strongest part of the union – Turkey.