The Turkish Armed Forces’ logistics commander, Lieutenant-General Tursun Baki, and Georgia’s Deputy Defense Minister, Major-General Grigol Katamadze signed in Tbilisi yesterday an agreement on military assistance and cooperation between the two countries’ defense ministries. The five-year agreement envisages, in the first phase, Turkish construction in Georgia of military training centers in Kodori and in Gori (Iosif Stalin’s birthplace) and of a modern shooting range outside Tbilisi. The sides will create joint consultative groups of military officers to convene in Georgia and plan further Turkish assistance in logistics and the training of military-technical specialists (Kavkazia press, Turan, March 4).
The Turkish side recently allocated US$5.5 million to develop the Georgian army’s medical and rescue services. Last year, Turkey provided significant assistance to Georgia’s coastal guard. Yesterday’s military agreement rounds off the understandings which Presidents Eduard Shevardnadze and Suleyman Demirel reached last week in Turkey on a wide range of cooperation programs (see the Monitor, March 1).
Growing military cooperation with Turkey and other NATO countries underscores the purely formal character of Georgia’s signature on the CIS Collective Security Treaty. In Tbilisi on March 2, President Eduard Shevardnadze confirmed to the visiting CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovsky that Georgia does not intend to prolong its participation in that treaty when it expires this coming May (Itar-Tass, March 2).
AZERBAIJAN OFFERS UNIT FOR NATO CONTINGENT.