Σάββατο, 20 Ιουλίου 2013

Η καημένη η Τουρκία προσπαθεί να παίξει το παιχνίδι ισορροπιών που έπαιζε και το Βυζάντιο

 
Όπως ανέφερα και σε απάντησή μου σε σχόλιο, οι αναλύσεις και ειδικά οι γεωπολιτικές αναλύσεις, λογικό είναι να εμπεριέχουν τις προκαταλήψεις, την θεώρηση, και τελικά και τα συμφέροντα των αναλυτών. Οι "καλές" αναλύσεις προσπαθούν να δείξουν όλες τις θεωρήσεις και τα συμφέροντα... Και στο σκάκι, πάντα υπάρχει ζητούμενο.

Ο χάρτης μεγαλώνει με κλικ, και τον βρήκα εδώ.  Η γεωγραφία δεν αλλάζει, αλλά όπως μάθαμε στο Γυμνάσιο, στο μάθημα της Βυζαντινής, και όχι μόνο, Ιστορίας, μετακινούνται οι πληθυσμοί. Στον χάρτη θα αναγνωρίσετε αρκετά από τα ονόματα των διαφόρων που κατά καιρούς ενοχλούσαν την Κωνσταντινούπολη, μόνο που τώρα ένας από αυτούς έχει την Κωνσταντινούπολη. Αν τα σύνορα της Συρίας είναι τεχνητά, μετά το Sykes-Picot, ο Καύκασος κάνει τα Βαλκάνια να είναι απλή περίπτωση...

Η γεωγραφία δεν αλλάζει, οι πληθυσμοί μετακινούνται, καλώς-κακώς το Μεγάλο Παιχνίδι είναι σε πλήρη εξέλιξη, το άτιμο δεν έχει σταματήσει και φυσικά, από τον καιρό του Σιδηροδρόμου Βερολίνου-Βαγδάτης έχει για κύριο αντικείμενο τα πετρέλαια (και το αέριο) της Μέσης Ανατολής, του Καυκάσου, και τα ενδιάμεσα. Για τους Τούρκους, πίσω στα βιβλία Ιστορίας του Γυμνασίου, και άσε πια τους Ρωσο-Τουρκικούς πολέμους...


Stratfor: Azerbaijan and Turkey's Evolving Military Ties.

Increasing military ties between Azerbaijan and Turkey will give both countries more flexibility in the strategic but sensitive Caucasus region, though numerous impediments to deeper relations remain in the short to medium term. Following an opening ceremony at the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry's Garaheybat Training Center, Azerbaijan and Turkey launched joint military drills July 16. The exercises, which will run until July 28, will be held in Baku and Nakhchivan and are the largest such drills ever between the two countries.

Azerbaijan and Turkey have cooperated in the military sphere since Baku established independence following the fall of the Soviet Union. The two countries have strengthened military ties in the past few years; they have engaged in more frequent and larger military exercises, and Azerbaijan has increased its weapons purchases from Turkey. But despite the strong and growing cooperation, Russia remains a major security challenge for Azerbaijan both in terms of its dependence on Russian arms exports and because of the conventional military presence of Russia in the region.

History of Military Cooperation

Azerbaijan's military ties to Turkey trace back to its first years as an independent state. In 1992, the two countries signed an agreement to establish ties in military education. In 1993 amid the war over Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey imposed a full economic embargo on Armenia in support of Azerbaijan and subsequently closed its border with Armenia. In the following years, many broad agreements and protocols were signed between Azerbaijan and Turkey, including a border protocol in 1997 and an agreement on training and assistance for Azerbaijan's State Border Service by Turkey's armed forces in 2003.

The dynamic shifted in 2009, when Turkey attempted to normalize relations with Armenia and the leadership of the two countries began discussions on reopening the border. This prompted a significant backlash from Azerbaijan, which felt that no such normalization should occur as long as the Nagorno-Karabakh issue remained unresolved. Azerbaijan threatened to raise the price of its oil and natural gas exports to Turkey and reached out to Russia to show Ankara that it had other options. Turkey responded by abandoning the talks with Armenia and tying any normalization between the countries to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

To reassure Baku of their bilateral relationship, Turkey established a strategic partnership with Azerbaijan in December 2010 that prioritized security cooperation and assistance. The agreement, which consisted of 23 articles and five chapters, guaranteed mutual assistance in the event that either country was subject to a "military attack or aggression." The pact also called for closer cooperation in defense and military-technical policy and joint training between the two states.

Since the strategic partnership was established, there has been a significant increase in cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey in two areas: weapons production and sales and military exercises. In 2011, the countries signed an agreement to jointly produce 107 mm and 122 mm rocket artillery. A year later, Turkey's Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corp. sold more than $600,000 worth of weapons and ammunition to Azerbaijan. More recently, the Turks have delivered several different models of their Otokar Cobra armored vehicles to Azerbaijan, and they are currently training the Azerbaijanis in their use. Several other deals are in the works, including production of BOA thermal weapon sights and Azerbaijan's purchase of Turkish mobile field hospitals. The Turks are also looking to sell their T-155 Firtina self-propelled howitzers to Azerbaijan despite German objections. (Germany makes the power plant for the vehicles, but the Turks purportedly have found a replacement engine.)

Joint military exercises between Azerbaijan and Turkey have also increased in both frequency and scope in recent years. In 2011 and 2012, the two armies conducted both counterterrorism and tactical exercises in Turkey. Also in 2012, Azerbaijani and Turkish special operations forces -- with Georgian participation -- held "Caucasus Eagle" exercises. The latest exercises are the largest such drills between Azerbaijan and Turkey in the past two decades. An infantry division is doing exercises in Baku, and a mechanized infantry division will conduct drills in the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakchivan (the latter of which is also notable due the proximity to Iran). The sides agreed to hold such exercises on an annual basis.

Strategy and the Future

The growing ties between Azerbaijan and Turkey are a counterbalance to the partnership that Russia has with Armenia. In 2010, Armenia approved an extension of the lease of Russia's military base in the country to 2044, and Moscow is providing more modern equipment to Armenia's armed forces. For Baku, better ties with Ankara strengthen its confidence in a tense region, and weapons purchases enable Azerbaijan to build up its military in the hope of one day re-engaging Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. From the Turks' perspective, Azerbaijan is a lucrative market for their weapons industry and provides a foothold in the Caucasus region, where Russia has a very strong position.

However, there are significant limits on the effectiveness of Azerbaijan's security relationship with Turkey. Despite the growing ties between the two in terms of weapons transfers and production, there is a significant amount of Soviet-era equipment in use in the Azerbaijani military. The majority of the Azerbaijani armed forces' hardware is still from Russia or former Soviet states, as is the infrastructure used to maintain this hardware. Azerbaijan has sought cooperation with Turkey to improve on its current weapons systems and revamp its equipment, but a complete renovation is expensive and takes time. Azerbaijan has also looked to other countries, such as Israel, to improve and modernize its weapons systems.

But the Azerbaijani military has and will continue to maintain a relationship with the Russian armed forces out of necessity. Indeed, it recently signed a $1 billion weapons package deal with Moscow that includes main battle tanks, self-propelled artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems.

While Azerbaijan will not be able to eschew Russia completely in favor of Turkey, there does appear to be a notable evolution underway in Baku and Ankara's cooperation in military matters. Azerbaijan has been gradually diversifying its weapons systems, and Turkey serves as an important component of that. In the meantime, the ongoing military exercises show a larger commitment in the joint training of ground forces between the two countries. Given that this is the first year for such exercises, it will be important to track their level of sophistication in the future.

Russia remains the dominant military force in the Caucasus, and that is not likely to change in the near to medium term. However, in recent years Azerbaijan has been building up the ability to project force, and its growing cooperation with Turkey shows that their partnership is becoming more substantial. This lays the groundwork for potential security shifts in the region, and Russia and Armenia will no doubt be watching these developments closely and planning accordingly.

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