Does the Baku-Ankara-Kiev format have a future?
13 July 2021
peaking on July 5 this year at the Ukraine 30 forum on the topic of International Politics, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine would develop strategic mutually beneficial relations with Azerbaijan.
And this is a firm and consistent position. There have never been any fundamental differences between our countries and peoples. And during the last war, Ukraine took an unambiguous official position, advocating the resumption of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
In 2020, the trade turnover between Ukraine and Azerbaijan amounted to about 800 million dollars. Key areas of interest for the business of both sides are energy, agriculture, mechanical engineering, shipbuilding, military-technical cooperation. For Azerbaijan, Ukraine is the second trade partner, after Russia, in the post-Soviet space. And for Ukraine, Azerbaijan is the number 1 trade partner in the Caucasus. Nevertheless, the potential for the development of bilateral trade and economic relations is enormous. We need to strive for the results that Azerbaijan and Turkey have already achieved, where we are talking about trade volumes at the level of 15 billion dollars.
Ukraine is interested in Azerbaijan's experience in preparing for the renewal of its territorial integrity. And although the question has not yet been finally closed, the results are nevertheless impressive. At the same time, there are also prospects for the development of military-technical cooperation.
For example, in the issue of building modern warships, because already at the Baku shipyard, with the help of Ukrainian shipbuilding companies, construction of 6 sea ships, 2 universal ferries and 4 special oil tankers is underway. Taking into account the fact that the program for the construction of missile boats is gaining momentum in Ukraine, together with Great Britain, in the near future it will be possible to consider the corresponding projects with Azerbaijan.
Ukraine is traditionally strong in the production of armored vehicles, transport aircraft, modern air defense systems, electronic intelligence and so on. Plus, such a strategically important industry as rocketry has not gone anywhere. I am sure that in the near future the leadership of our two friendly countries will substantively consider the prospects for intensifying cooperation in the military-technical sphere in many areas. Both sides are ripe for serious steps forward.
Turkey is an important strategic partner of Ukraine.
This state takes a consistent position in support of the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Even the pressure from the Kremlin does not affect the position of President Erdogan. Therefore, we can responsibly assert that the Ukrainian-Turkish military-technical cooperation has great prospects. Ukraine is already receiving Bayraktar drones.
On October 16, 2020, during the President's visit to Turkey, an Agreement on Cooperation in the Defense Sphere was signed. In accordance with it, the parties plan to open a number of joint ventures. And it's not just about unmanned aerial vehicles. In Turkey, it is planned to open a plant for the production of aircraft engines for drones, helicopters, and new Turkish aircraft.
I think that the next step, given the common interests and similarity of the positions of the three countries on most issues of the regional and global agenda, should be trilateral Ukrainian-Azerbaijani-Turkish cooperation in the military-technical sphere. Turkey has a long-term strategy to expand its influence in the region and seeks not only to become a dominant player in the Mediterranean-Black Sea region, but also to aim at the role of one of the global security factors.
So the prospects for deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey in many areas, including military-technical, are enormous. And they are being successfully implemented. At the same time, the triangle "Ukraine - Azerbaijan - Turkey" is a very promising format of cooperation, which can and should appear in the near future!
The author is the Ukrainian diplomat and political analyst.
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