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Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict: Turkey's military exports to Baku jump 600 percent

Large Turkish backing for Baku in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict sees arms sales surge
An Azeri protester waves an Azerbaijani and a Turkish national flag as he takes part in a demonstration in Istanbul on 4 October 2020 (AFP)
By Ragip Soylu in Ankara

Turkey’s military exports to its ally Azerbaijan jumped a whopping 610 percent in the first 11 months of this year, during which Baku fought a brutal and successful conflict against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Turkish exports for the time totalled nearly $256m, according to the Turkey Exporters Union’s latest data release.

During the September-November conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, a nominal Azerbaijani territory that had been occupied by Armenian forces since 1994, Ankara provided unprecedented support for Baku. 

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Turkey shipped at least six armed Bayraktar type attack drones and supplied smart munitions including precision-guided missiles, while Turkish military staff helped to shape Azerbaijan's strategy to capture the territory.

Turkey’s drone blitz against Armenian hardware, which included howitzers, missiles, missile defence systems, tanks and fortifications, weakened Yerevan's resistance and gave Azerbaijan a huge advantage on the battlefield.

Turkey and Azerbaijan have conducted joint military drills for years, most recently in August, when Turkish officers shared the experience and expertise they had developed in the Syrian and Libyan conflicts.

Ankara has also brought in Syrian mercenaries to prop up Azerbaijani defences and deployed Turkish F-16s as a deterrent, even though the warplanes were not used in the actual fighting.

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on a ceasefire after six weeks of heavy fighting in November, following the Azerbaijani army’s seizure of the strategic city of Shusha (known as Shushi in Armenian).

The agreement, which was met with anger and disbelief among Armenians, hands administrative control over several areas of the mountainous territory to Azerbaijan.

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As part of the deal, Russian peacekeepers are deployed along the frontline in Nagorno-Karabakh and the corridor between the region and Armenia. Turkey and Russia also earlier this week agreed to establish a joint ceasefire observation centre to inspect developments on the ground.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also set to visit Baku on 9-10 December, according to a statement by the presidency on Thursday.

Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s, prompting a long unresolved conflict that has seen tens of thousands of people killed.

The disputed territory has been held by Armenian forces for nearly three decades, despite four UN Security Council resolutions urging them to withdraw.

Both Armenians and Azerbaijanis have long historical and cultural roots in the territory.

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