Following talks with Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev, visiting Turkish prime minister Mesut Yilmaz told a Baku briefing that Turkey is "ready to provide multi-sided assistance to modernize Azerbaijan’s army and bring it up to international standards." It was also announced in Baku yesterday that Aliyev and Yilmaz have agreed to set up a joint intergovernmental commission to promote the expansion of bilateral economic relations. Common projects focusing on the energy and communications sectors were discussed. (Turan news agency, April 15, cited by UPI and BBC) The offer of military assistance is most likely aimed at strengthening Azerbaijan’s national independence rather than preparing any revanche in Karabakh. Turkey’s membership in NATO almost certainly precludes any encouragement of military adventurism. The offer should be seen as promoting overall security in the Transcaucasus and implicitly meeting the interests of Azerbaijan’s neighbors Georgia and Armenia, which seek to remain politically independent of Russia despite having military cooperation agreements with it. Azerbaijan has declined any military cooperation with Russia and lacks a modern army.
Another NATO Delegation in Turkmenistan.