Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan agree to widen defence cooperation

  • The ministerial saw the three defence officials meet in Batumi earlier today. Photo: Georgia's Defence Ministry press office., 23 May 2017 - 18:54, Tbilisi,Georgia

Defence agencies of Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan will widen cooperation in bid to ensure regional security and stability, following a three-way meeting between defence ministers in Tbilisi earlier today.

The high-ranking officials announced a planned increase in the scale of joint defence exercises between the three states, as they met in Georgia’s seaside city Batumi.

Minister of Defence of Georgia Levan Izoria, Minister of National Defence of Turkey Fikri Isik and Minister of Defence of Azerbaijan Colonel General Zakir Hasanov also stressed the importance of their ongoing cooperation for regional peace.

The formal event was concluded with the signing of an official statement on regional cooperation by the three parties. Photo: Georgia's Defence Ministry press office.

Our joint exercises have been widened this year, with our operational forces set to commence joint drills in two weeks’ time.

Joint exercises for digitalised staff work will also be carried out in September, and we discussed the subject of widening of this format further for the future,” Izoria told reporters at the ministerial.

The Georgian defence minister also noted the talks with his counterparts had also been aimed at increasing the "quality of cooperation” for enabling "global projects” in the South Caucasus.

Hosted in Georgia for the second time, the event also saw comments by the visiting defence officials. Turkey’s defence minister Isik stressed the "exemplary relations” between the three states, while Colonel General Hasanov said the aim of the trilateral format was regional security and stability.

Defence ministers of Azerbaijan (L), Turkey (C) and Georgia photographed at the Batumi ministerial. Photo: Georgia's Defence Ministry press office.

The fifth edition of the ministerial also saw preview of the upcoming meeting between chiefs of general staffs of the three countries, set to be hosted in Georgia later this year.

The meeting was concluded with a signing of an official statement on the three countries’ continued participation in efforts aimed at regional and international stability and peacekeeping.

The Batumi ministerial was announced by Izoria during his visit to the 2017 International Defence Industry Fair in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this month.

Involving meetings with Isik as well as Turkey’s chief of general staff General Salih Zeki Colak, the visit saw Izoria invite his counterpart to Georgia’s annual defence and security conference, to be held in October.