Russia keeping an eye on potential Turkish military base in Azerbaijan
Russia is keeping a close eye on developments south of its border in the Caucasus following recent talk of a potential Turkish base being established in neighbouring Azerbaijan, Reuters reported on Friday.
“The deployment of military infrastructure by the (NATO) alliance countries near our borders is cause for our special attention, as well as a reason for us to take steps to ensure our security and interests,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.
Peskov made the statement after being asked about the possibility of Turkey, which has the second-largest army in the NATO alliance, establishing a base in Azerbaijan, Reuters said.
The question emerged in light of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent visit to Azerbaijan. Erdoğan visited Shusha, which Armenians call Shushi, on Tuesday with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, Reuters said.
Among other things, the two leaders agreed to increase military cooperation between their two countries.
“But most important is the agreement on cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey in the defence industry sphere and mutual military assistance,” Aliyev told a press conference following his meeting with Erdoğan.
Following his visit, Erdoğan did not rule out the possibility of establishing a Turkish military base on Azerbaijani soil.
“There may be development, expansion here later,” he said.
Azerbaijan recaptured Shusha from Armenia in last year’s Nagorno-Karabakh war. Turkey sold a significant amount of advanced weaponry, including its signatory Bayraktar TB2 drones, to Azerbaijan shortly before that war broke out.