The following is an interview with Jasur Sumerenli, who heads the "Doctrine" Journalists' Military Research Center, an Azerbaijani NGO.
Does Azerbaijan have a military doctrine? What is its significance?
Such a doctrine was passed by the Azerbaijani parliament in 2010. Contrary to the policy adopted by the legislature in 2006, the current one is more balanced but isn't well defined strategically.
It was after the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 that the parliament decided it was time to reform the policy; to make it more balanced and diversified.
The former strategic aim of integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures and the desire to cooperate with NATO was left somewhat unclear in the new doctrine.
Who are Azerbaijan's military and strategic partners and to what extent can Azerbaijan rely on their assistance?
Azerbaijan's real partner is Turkey. But Azerbaijan has no military/strategic cooperation document with Ankara.
In August 2010, the presidents of the two nations signed an agreement on strategic cooperation and mutual assistance. The agreement includes strategic and political issues and security matters.
Azerbaijan views its security guarantor in Euro-Atlantic integration and cooperation with Turkey.
According to the military doctrine, foreign forces can be based on Azerbaijani territory. In this regard, the possibility of a Turkish presence in Azerbaijan, especially in Nakhijevan, is quite real.
If we take into account the presence of Russian troops in Armenia, then a Turkish military presence in Azerbaijan can also be viewed as logical.
Regarding the question of relying on Turkey when it counts, most experts would agree that this agreement doesn't portend Turkish military assistance.
But Turkey continues to support Baku in the Karabakh conflict settlement process.
The agreement also raises the issue of Turkey's responsibility in defending the territorial integrity of all of Azerbaijan.
Previously, according to the Treaty of Kars, Ankara was responsible for the security of the Nakhijevan Autonomous Region only.
What international organizations and according to what agreements is monitoring of Azerbaijan's military build-up and military operations taking place?
Azerbaijan's cooperative documents with NATO are essentially intended to establish mechanisms for democratic monitoring of the military.
Presently, the Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building (PAP-DIB) is being carried out.
It aims to reinforce efforts by Partner countries to reform and restructure their defence institutions to meet domestic needs as well as international commitments.
The project essentially states that it is vital for democratic institutions to be established in the defense sector.
We must admit that right now there is no real monitoring of the Azerbaijani military by any international body.
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