TODAY.AZ / Politics

Azerbaijan enlists Turkish general to improve its military

08 January 2007 [17:14] - TODAY.AZ
Azerbaijan has launched a project to elevate its military to NATO standards and is planning to take important steps in 2007 to accomplish this goal.

The administration in Baku is reportedly planning to appoint a Turkish general as its deputy defense minister. According to the news reports that appeared in the Azeri press, a Turkish general, appointed by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), will assume the post in mid-2007.

A news story published by Ayna, a daily paper in Azerbaijan, wrote that Baku will grant the Turkish general significant authority and permit him to work with his team from Turkey. The partnership is planned to continue until 2011, during which time a few Turkish generals to be selected by the Turkish Armed Forces will consecutively occupy the post.

The newspaper also wrote that Azeri and Turkish military officials had been discussing the subject for some time and that it would be taken up during the visit of Gen. Ilker Basbug, commander-in-chief of the Turkish Ground Forces, to Azerbaijan in January. Ayna assumes that the identity of the deputy defense minister will emerge within few months following this meeting.

Azerbaijan will model this system on a project implemented by Lithuania in 2002, when the country appointed a retired American colonel, Ionas Kronkaytis, as chief of staff upon recommendation from NATO and U.S. military authorities. Kronkaytis reformed the Lithuanian army in 2003 according to NATO standards, which resulted in the country joining the alliance. Zaman


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