Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, on May 29, officially inaugurated the first phase of his country’s long-awaited flagship Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project, through which Caspian-basin natural gas (from the offshore Shah-Deniz field) will be transported to Europe (Azernews, May 29). The new project consists of several linked pipelines that pass through Azerbaijan and Georgia (via the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion, or SCPX), Turkey (via the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, TANAP), and further through Greece, Albania and into Italy (via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, TAP). In the initial operational phase of the SGC, 6 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas will annually be transported via Turkey to Europe, and those volumes will be increased to 10 bcm after 2020. Reportedly, the volumes will be expanded to 31 bcm after 2026, if additional gas compressor stations are constructed.Oxumağa davam et Southern Gas Corridor Project Opening New Long-Term Opportunities for Europe→
Armenia’s dependence on Russia makes it a pivotal foothold of Moscow in the South Caucasus, as the only host country of a Russian military base in the region, as well as a member in the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). While the growing arms race in the region and the recent escalation of tensions in NagornoKarabakh increased the vulnerability of Armenia, Russia seems to have reinforced its ability to ensure full control over Armenia.Oxumağa davam et HOW DO RUSSIAN LOANS “HELP” ARMENIA TO MODERNIZE ITS MILITARY CAPABILITIES?→
On March 15, Baku hosted the first official ministerial meeting of a new quadrilateral regional format, encompassing Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran and Georgia (Trend, March 15). The new grouping was conceived to enhance cooperation among the four neighboring states, particularly in the security sphere. Until now, perhaps the most productive intra-regional cooperation format in the South Caucasus was the Azerbaijan-Turkey-Georgia triangle. Under the umbrella of this trilateral format, the participating countries have worked to deepen their defense ties as well as held annual military drills (see EDM, March 11, 2014; June 7, 2017). Despite attempts by some observers to portray the tripartite grouping as an anti-Russian bloc in the South Caucasus, the three states have denied such accusations. Oxumağa davam et Baku Pushes New Azerbaijan-Iran-Turkey-Georgia Grouping to Enhance Intra-Regional Cooperation→
On February 6, the Azerbaijan-China Business forum held in Beijing gathered together a number of state officials including Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev, the Chairman of the Export and Investment Promotion Fund of Azerbaijan (AZPROMO), as well as officials from the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Chinese Council of Propaganda of International Trade. The business forum was reportedly devoted to the Trans-Caspian Transit Corridor as part of China-led ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, a corridor of 6,500 km links Asia with Europe and passes through countries including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. A flagship project of the corridor, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railway, was inaugurated in October in 2017. The railway connects Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, establishing a freight and passenger link between Europe and China. During the inauguration ceremony President Ilham Aliyev stated that “Baku-Tbilisi-Kars will connect not only countries, but continents as well.” Thus, the BTK project is undoubtedly has enormous importance to the competitiveness of the Trans-Caspian corridor.
The Minister of Defense Industry of Azerbaijan Yavar Jamalov held a press conference, on December 17, to discuss the outcomes of 2017 for the country’s defense industry sector. The minister pointed out that this past year, two additional military-production factories were built in Azerbaijan. Thus, the total number of defense-manufacturing facilities in the country is now 58 (Trend, December 17, 2017). Moreover, these new factories were fully equipped with modern machinery developed by leading Western defense contractors. The Ministry of Defense Industry plans to launch two more new factories, which will be able to produce four kinds of modern artillery shells, mortars, and armor for military vehicles. Moreover, new military labs will be developed to produce blasting powder, trinitrotoluene (TNT) and hexogen (RDX) chemical compounds (Azerbaijan-news.az, December 17, 2017). Oxumağa davam et Azerbaijan to Boost Arms Exports in 2018→
This article examines the degree of awareness at the grassroots level in Azerbaijan and Pakistan regarding the growing bilateral strategic cooperation. During the last several years, relations between Baku and Islamabad have expanded rapidly to the level of a strategic partnership encompassing various fields such as military, humanitarian issues, diplomatic, and cultural issues. Building strategic partnerships with countries in the region and beyond has always been a guiding principle of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy strategy. The common religious background of both countries also plays a significant role in strengthening bilateral ties. Pakistan’s explicit support of Azerbaijan in the international diplomatic arena, in particular in regard to the resolution process of the most complex and dangerous conflict in the South Caucasus – the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is among those significant factors. The article traces the key moments in Azerbaijani – Pakistan relations, and outlines the achievements, prospects, and potential for strengthening economic and security ties. Oxumağa davam et Response to Regional Challenges: Why Strategic Partnership of Azerbaijan and Pakistan is Important?→
On October 30, 2017, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, along with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Georgia’s Prime-minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev, and Uzbekistan’s Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov attended the opening ceremony of the long-delayed Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway. “The opening of the railway is of historic and strategic significance,” Aliyev said at the ceremony in the Caspian port city of Alat, south of Baku, to mark the departure of the first trains. In fact, the opening of the new railway provides an alternative route to existing rail services carrying goods from Asia to Europe.
BACKGROUND: The BTK railway, totaling 826 kilometers in length, is intended to complete a transport corridor linking Azerbaijan to Turkey (and thereby linking Central Asia and China to Europe) by rail. The railway is constructed on the basis of a Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement. At the initial stage, it will have a capacity of one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo per year, projected to reach 17 million tons of cargo per year by 2023. Starting in Baku, the trains will stop in Tbilisi, pass through gauge-changing facilities in Akhalkalaki, and terminate in north-east Turkey. Oxumağa davam et Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway to Become Central Asia’s Gateway to Europe→