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Turkish drones and F-16 fighters could be deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh

ANKARA, BAKU, (BM) – Ankara could deploy Turkish drones and F-16 fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Turkish media circulated similar information after a speech by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. He made a statement saying that Azerbaijan will build two international airports in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Aliyev wants to develop the region economically and especially the parts that were returned to the country. According to him, rebuilding the area would be more straightforward if Azerbaijan built two airports on its territory. However, analysts say such a statement is exaggerated because two airports are many for such a small area. Simultaneously, military analysts from Turkey are finding an opportunity to strengthen their regional positions and strengthen their friendship with Baku. They believe a dual-use international airport will allow Turkish drones and fighters to be located there.

We remind you that Azerbaijan has already bought Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones. This deal expects to be the beginning of military trade between the two countries. Especially after Turkish drones proved to be highly effective in Libya, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabakh, Ankara’s desire to have its air contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh has its logic. It would justify the Turks’ decision to support Azerbaijan in the conflict.

Turkey has peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, but they are limited in their actions.

Turkey was keen to send human resources as a peacekeeping mission to Nagorno-Karabakh. However, Russia did not allow this. The signed agreement between Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan only allow the Turks to undertake peacekeeping activities from Azerbaijan’s territory.

To keep the peace in the region, Moscow and Ankara reached an agreement. This agreement determines the order of peacekeeping activities. For this purpose, the two parties will only jointly monitor the armistice’s observance by a deliberately established joint peacekeeping center.

The Turkish parliament formally approved the agreement late last year and decided to send peacekeepers to the center. Such a development of the situation benefits only Moscow. Russian authorities have repeatedly stated that they will not allow the presence of Turkish troops in Nagorno-Karabakh.

What tactical shortcomings the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh has revealed

The 44-day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan revealed the reality of the combat capability of the two armies. But in general, the question was not how worn out the military equipment was, but how future wars would be fought.

First, the role of tanks is already significantly reduced. Unmanned aerial vehicles are an effective solution to counter them. In this case, it is correct to note that it is not a question of the reduced role of tanks only, but any armored ground military equipment.

Second, artillery fire increasingly depends on precise localization and destruction techniques. The Azerbaijani army’s success was guaranteed in this aspect, as they used missiles with more precise targeting. We must also note the essential fact of the degraded Armenian air defense system, which did not play its role in the conflict.

Third, electronic warfare systems will be a crucial part of future military action. The first days of the war allowed Azerbaijan to disable some Armenian anti-aircraft systems. This tactic allowed the rampant use of high-efficiency drones.

Fourth, the integration of new tactical concepts, doctrines, and the autonomous use of defensive or offensive techniques. Although cyber operations do not appear to have played a significant role in this conflict, they are likely to be used to deactivate or even destroy command and control and air defense systems at the beginning of a future high-intensity conflict.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR.

During the armed conflict in 1992-1994, the Azerbaijani side lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven areas adjacent to it. Since 1992, negotiations have been conducted within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is led by co-chairs – Russia, USA and France.

In 1994, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, through the mediation of Russia, signed the Bishkek Armistice Protocol. At the same time, military operations did not stop there, which periodically renewed. The most significant exacerbation of the conflict was the four-day war of 2016. Then hundreds of soldiers on both sides became victims.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan last year, called for a rhetoric that would go against the fundamental principles endorsed by both sides and enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act when resolving the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted that much more needs to be done to achieve a long-term political settlement.

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, active clashes are taking place in the disputed territory. Martial law was introduced in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and mobilization was announced. Both sides reported killed and wounded, including civilians. In Baku, they announced the control of several Karabakh villages and strategic heights. Yerevan also reports about the shelling of the territory of Armenia.

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