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Azerbaijan, Turkey to launch large-scale joint military exercises

The Azerbaijani defense ministry on Monday announced that Ankara and Baku are going to launch large-scale military exercises as part of the Agreement on Military Cooperation between both countries.

“Azerbaijani-Turkish Live Fire Joint Large-Scale Tactical and Flight-Tactical Exercises will be held in our country with the participation of the Land Forces and the Air Force of both countries,” a written statement of the ministry said.

It added that the joint exercises will involve military personnel, armored vehicles, artillery mounts and mortars, as well as military aviation and air defense equipment of the armies of the two countries.

“According to the plan, exercises involving the Land Forces will be held from Aug. 1 to 5 in Baku and Nakhchivan, and exercises with the participation of military aviation will be held from July 29 to Aug. 10 in Baku, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Kurdamir and Yevlakh,” the statement added.

Turkey and Azerbaijan have been reiterating cooperation in every field, especially the military, after an Armenian attack took place on Azerbaijan’s border on July 12.

The recent rise in tensions was triggered when the Armenian army attempted to attack Azerbaijani positions with artillery fire in the direction of the northwestern Tovuz border district, withdrawing after suffering losses following retaliation from the Azerbaijani military.

Twelve Azerbaijani soldiers, including a major general and a colonel, were killed and four others were injured in the recent border clashes.

Azerbaijan has blamed Armenia for the “provocative” actions, with Turkey throwing its weight behind Baku and warning Yerevan that it would not hesitate to stand against any kind of attack on its eastern neighbor.

A week after the attack, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Azerbaijani Deputy Defense Minister Ramiz Tahirov and Kerem Mustafayev, army chief of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, an exclave of Azerbaijan bordering Armenia, Turkey and Iran, came together and discussed the recent situation.

On the security of Azerbaijan and the region, Akar said Turkey and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will continue to do what they have to do, adding, “No one should doubt that.”

The two ex-Soviet republics have been locked for decades in a conflict over Armenia’s illegal occupation of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The territory was seized by ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1990s war that claimed 30,000 lives, though the recent fighting broke out on a northern section of their shared border far from Karabakh.

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