The chiefs of intelligence services of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan convened on March 26-27 in Baku on the occasion of the Azerbaijan National Security Ministry’s 80th anniversary. The chiefs reviewed current developments in the South Caucasus and Central Asia and signed an agreement on cooperation among the intelligence services of these six Turkic countries. While specifics of the document were not disclosed, the participants were said to have focused on providing security for Caspian oil and gas pipelines; protection of the planned Transit Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Central Asia (TRACECA); and combating both terrorism of all types and violent Islamic fundamentalism, as illustrated respectively by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey and the recent bomb attacks in Tashkent. The conferees agreed that coordination among the Turkic countries’ intelligence services constitutes “an imperative of the times.”
Azerbaijan’s National Security Minister, Lieutenant-General Namig Abbasov, chaired the meeting. President Haidar Aliev conferred separately with the visiting intelligence chiefs. The active participation of Turkey and exclusion of Russia was a salient feature of the event, notwithstanding that most of these countries’ intelligence agencies have their own bilateral cooperation agreements with Russia. The meeting was the second and most productive thus far held by the Turkic countries’ intelligence chiefs. The first meeting had been held in Istanbul and the next one is scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan (ANS, March 26; Turan, March 26-27, 29).
AZERBAIJAN RELEASES RUSSIAN TRANSPORT PLANE AND CREW, KEEPS MIG JETS.