Azerbaijan and Turkey have begun the next stage of the joint tactical military exercises “Indestructible Brotherhood – 2021” in the Nakhichevan Autonomy, an Azerbaijani exclave that borders Turkey, Armenia and Iran. The maneuvers, which will last until October 8, involve special forces, commandos, motorized rifle and other units of the two countries.
Turkish Ministry of National Defense named the target of military preparations “Development of friendship, cooperation and interaction between the Armed Forces of Turkey and Azerbaijan”, promising to support Azerbaijan within the framework of the concept of “two states, one nation.”
The exercises are perceived as a response by Baku and Ankara to large-scale maneuvers of Iranian ground forces near the Azerbaijani borders, which started on October 1.
In recent weeks, the military-political situation in Transcaucasia has been heating up. Since late August, Azerbaijani troops have been blocking a section of the highway in the Armenian Syunik, which connects Armenia with Iran; they charge Iranian trucks a “customs duty” on the road and arrested two Iranian drivers. In turn, Tehran held large-scale military exercises in the regions adjacent to Azerbaijan, which was painfully perceived in Baku. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev expressed bewilderment at the unexpected nature of the exercises, in response Iran declared the inadmissibility of an Israeli presence at its borders and promised to take all measures to ensure national security.
The picking between neighboring countries continues. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Hossein Amir Abdullahyan reiterated the presence of the Israeli factor and international terrorists in Azerbaijan.
“After the tensions in the South Caucasus region, we are witnessing the presence of foreign terrorists and the destructive activities of the Zionist regime in this region. Of course, Tehran will not allow terrorist forces and the Zionist regime to harm Iran’s good relations with its neighbors, ”
– warned the head of Iranian diplomacy.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev called such accusations against Baku slander.
“Unfortunately, officials have started to bring unfounded accusations against us. Allegedly, Azerbaijan brought Israel to these regions. Let them open their eyes and look. Where did they see Israel here ?! … Is there evidence? No. If there is no evidence, everyone should be held accountable for their words. We cannot allow anyone to invent groundless slander against us, ”
– said the Azerbaijani leader.
Some analysts believe that the military and political activity of Iran towards Azerbaijan is connected not with the activity of Israel, but with a sharp increase in the role of Turkey in the affairs of the South Caucasus. The Islamic Republic is worried about the project of the Zangezur Corridor through Armenia, which will directly connect Turkey and Nakhichevan with the rest of Azerbaijan and will be able to cut Iran’s land communication with Armenia, Russia and Europe in the northern direction. Tehran also fears that Baku, in tandem with Ankara, will begin to fuel ethnic separatism in the northwestern part of Iran – the so-called South Azerbaijan.
Own. corr. FSK
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