Today.Az » Politics » Interior Troops' special forces suitable for military operations in Karabakh
26 September 2006 [19:56] - Today.Az
Commander of Interior Troops Zakir Hasanov: "I advocate public and democratic control on the Army."

The APA interviewed Commander of Interior Troops, General Lieutenant Zakir Hasanov.

Azerbaijan has professional Interior Troops who are ready to fulfill errands given by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. The main thing is that our military personnel know their duties very well and ready to fulfill them. The Interior Troops' officers are mastering experiences of both military body and law enforcement bodies. We are working on this issue.

What countries and international organizations do the Interior Troops cooperate with?

We have been closely cooperating with Turkey's Gendarmerie since 1997. Under the protocol, Turkey supports equipping, training of personnel of the Interior Troops. Our Troops meet modern standards by the assistance of the Turkish Gendarmerie. We are also cooperating with China, Italy, Russia, U.S., Germany, Romania as well as with NATO and FIEP. We conduct joint trainings. Our main task is to conform the Interior Troops to European standards.

The assessment mission from the Association of the European and Mediterranean Police Forces and Gendarmeries with Military Status (FIEP) has visited Azerbaijan recently. What do you expect from the talks. When do you think the Interior Troops will become FIEP member?

The FIEP assessment group familiarized with the service, professionalism and social condition of the Interior Troops. They get a certain idea of the Troops. The assessment group is preparing a report for the member countries. This report will be discussed at the FIEP secretariat and the decision on membership will be discussed at the meeting of FIEP authorities.

Are there any plans on increase of defense expenditure?

The logistics of the Interior Troops is in high level. Great majority of social problems have been solved in the past two years thanks to the head of state's and Interior Minister Ramil Usubov's care. The personnel, in particular soldiers of the Troops have been ensured wide opportunities today. All the military units and military camps meet modern standards. We opened a hostel for officers in Baku in the past one year. The construction of hostels in Sheki and Guba is about to be completed. We also established a holiday-resort for officers in Nabran. 136 billion manats (AZM) have been allocated for us from the budget. Our budget is increasing every year. We are planning to implement social programs in 2007-2008.

Some countries benefit from the opportunities of Interior Troops and similar bodies in solving problems like the Nagorno Karabakh problem. How do you assess the Interior Troops' preparation for operation against the separatist forces in Karabakh?

Besides, the separatist regime, there are Armenian Armed Forces in Nagorno Karabakh. If there were only separatist forces, the Nagorno Karabakh conflict could have been solved in a short period of time. It is not so difficult to neutralize a small gangster. We had to resist large-scale forces of Armenia and their supporters. They have been supplied with heavy weapons and therefore, they can be defeated by large-scale military operations. However, the Interior Troops are prepared to interfere in this armed conflict any time. We have high professionalism, equipment and first of all high spirit in our military personnel. We will also undertake responsibilities if the war starts. These responsibilities can be neutralization and disarmament of gangsters in the liberated territories, patrol services or organizing diversions behind the enemy to support our army's attack in mountainous areas and so on. Our operation regiments can be involved in the battles together with the Army. The special forces of Interior Troops are being trained to be suitable for military operations in Karabakh.

However, the special forces are said to be used as riot squads to suppress rallies and unrests most of all.

These forces are used to fight both armed crimes and preserve public order. Their professionalism is always on focus. Our special forces are cooperating with Turkish Gendarmerie. Our officers attend training courses in Turkey. As coming to rallies, The Interior Troops do not engage in politics, their function is to defend our state from criminal and outlaw attempts. We participate only in preventing mass unrests. The practice shows some outlaw forces organize mass unrests. We are ready to fulfill our duty. I am convinced that no outlaw force can violate stability in Azerbaijan today.

The Military Prosecutor's Office says there is a high level corruption in the Armed Forces. Is there such a problem in the Interior Troops?

I am not informed of the processes in other bodies. There should be a strong control to prevent corruption. No officer or ensign of the Interior Troops has been called to account for corruption or bribery since 2002. The Troops are being overseen by the Interior Ministry and several other bodies. The officers of the Prosecutor's Office regularly visit our military units. Corruption is unacceptable in a military body.

The Council of Europe is also concerned over events contrary to the Regulations of Armed Forces. What actions are taken to remove such events?

Legal framework prevents contrary to the Army's Regulations. If there is a right behavior to a soldier, there will be no problem. We need to cooperate with parents. Our body is open to parents. We invite parents of soldier to the military units every weekend, and I attend these meetings too. We advocate public and democratic control on the Army. Then the problems will be removed. Since, we are integrating into Europe, this control is necessary.

Do the parents complain of something?

The complaints are due to leave and permission of soldiers to go home for a short-term. Taking into account possible events, we cannot allow soldiers to the city as they do not know the city well. They are from province. We allow them in groups and take leave in accordance with legislation. We rarely receive complaints on relationships among soldiers.

What about the establishment of the peacekeeping party in the Interior Troops?

A peacekeeping party is to be established in the Interior Troops in the framework of the cooperation program with NATO. Preliminary measures have been implemented for this. The officers have been trained, staff meeting NATO standards has been established. The party has been supplied with weapons and equipment. There remains some measures to be implemented regarding purchasing of communication facilities that are used in NATO forces. This problem will be addressed in the context of mutual relations, and the peacekeeping party will be ready early in 2007.

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