Turkish donation will help armed forces carry out their assigned tasks, say Georgian defense officials
Turkey has made a donation of military equipment to the army of its northeastern neighbor Georgia, military officials announced on Sunday.
The Turkish donations included laser rangefinders and various engineering equipment for various purposes, a Georgian Defense Ministry statement said.
A ceremony attended by senior Turkish and Georgian military officials marked the donation of the valuable equipment, it added.
Underlining the close and successful defense cooperation between Turkey and Georgia, the statement said: “The donated equipment will be assigned to various combat and engineering regiments and will facilitate them carrying out their assigned tasks.”
The move follows Turkey’s donation last November of 36 buses, 12 armored earthmovers, and various other equipment to the Georgian Army.
Writing by Ahmet Gencturk
The Georgian Defence Forces received 12 units of multifunctional armored backhoe loaders and 35 BMC Neocity type buses in order to develop the military-engineering and logistics directions.
Procurement of the armored tractors and vehicles was carried out in the framework of bilateral cooperation between Georgia and the Republic of Turkey. Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey to Georgia, H.E Fatma Ceren Yazgan attended the official ceremony for the transfer of material-technical means. They viewed the multifunctional armored tractors and 35 BMC buses exhibited on the drill ground of the 4th Mechanized Brigade. Irakli Garibashvili thanked the Ambassador of Turkey for the support of the Georgian Defence Forces. The document of handover and acceptance was signed by Colonel Ioseb Nikoleishvili, head of Strategic Planning Department of General Staff of the Georgian Defence Forces, and Colonel Burak Altiner, military attaché of the Republic of Turkey to Georgia.
The backhoe loaders are multifunctional and have various configurations. Defence Ministry received armored cabins in addition. Neocity-type 8.5 m buses fully satisfy the transportation needs of the military personnel.
Georgian Defence Forces procured the special equipment and vehicles from the Turkish companies Hidromek and BMC with the accumulated sums assigned during 2015-2017 under the Agreement on Military Financial Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of Georgia. New equipment will be transferred to the various units of the Georgian Defence Forces and make the engineering-logistical tasks more effective.
Georgia and Turkey have been closely and successfully cooperating in defence sphere for many years. The Turkish side has made a significant contribution to the development of the Georgian Defence Forces with its material-financial assistance.
The Republic of Turkey provided significant medical equipment and medicines to Georgia, including respirators, PCR diagnostic kits and personal protective equipment in order to support the country in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation of the Republic of Turkey is aimed at assisting the population of Georgia during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular those who are affected by the Russia-Georgia conflict. This is especially important against the background, when the humanitarian situation in Georgia’s occupied territories has been further deteriorated amid the pandemic. Consequently, a large part of the humanitarian aid will be directed for addressing the needs of the people affected by the existing conflict between Russia and Georgia.
The Agreement between the Governments of Georgia and the Republic of Turkey on Donation in the Field of Healthcare was signed by the Deputy Minister of Health of Turkey Emine Alp Meşe and the Ambassador of Georgia to Turkey Giorgi Janjgava.
On September 3, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution entitled “Status of Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, Georgia”. As Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia noted, this year the document had unprecedented support – has been supported by 84 member states, only 13 opposed. Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili expressed her gratitude to all 84 countries that have stood next to Georgia this year.
It is noteworthy that our neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkey have once again expressed support for Georgia, joining the global call to ensure the observance of the rights of the Georgian population expelled from Abkhazia and Samachablo. With Russia's position, everything is clear. But Armenia acted in a very non-trivial way – it did not take part in the voting. It is difficult to imagine that the immediate neighbor of our country, who assures of friendship in the course of bilateral contacts, is poorly informed about the state of affairs of internally displaced persons in Georgia. However, Yerevan has avoided expressing a clear position on this issue.
President of Azerbaijan: Without any hesitation, we support Turkey and will support it in any circumstances
As reported earlier, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today accepted credentials of the newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Greece to Azerbaijan, Nikolaos Piperigos.
AZERTAC presents some excerpts from President Ilham Aliyev's remarks at the meeting.
“It is not Azerbaijan that has occupied the territory of Armenia – Armenia has occupied Azerbaijani territory. This is reflected in the documents of all international organizations.”
“The last issue I want to touch upon is the recent tension between Turkey and Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean region. I can tell you, and it is no secret, that Turkey is not only our friend and partner, but also a brotherly country for us. Without any hesitation whatsoever, we support Turkey and will support it in any circumstances. We see the same support from our Turkish brothers. They support Azerbaijan on all issues, and we support them on all issues, including the issue of exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
“I want you to know our position. This position has already been officially announced by the Azerbaijani government on my instructions. I can tell you again that Turkey is not only a friend but a brotherly country for us. The Turks are our brothers. So we will be with them in all matters.”
“I want to find something positive to touch upon, but unfortunately I can't find it. Perhaps we hope that the new government of Greece, which came to power relatively recently, will reconsider the policy of the previous government against Azerbaijan.”
“We can restore contacts and discuss issues that create positive dynamics. But, of course, that will depend on the policy and position of the Greek government.”
Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), General Rapporteur on media freedom and the safety of journalists for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has today expressed concern over the detention of journalists, an appalling phenomenon which has been observed for many years especially in Turkey and in Azerbaijan.
The PACE recent report on “Threats to media freedom and journalists’ security in Europe” observes that Turkey is the country which has the highest number of imprisoned journalists, at present 95 according to the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. “Journalists are placed in arbitrary pre-trial arrest and detention, and are held for months, sometimes for years, before their cases come to court. Such detentions are the result of politicised targeting of journalists for their critical reporting; they are an obvious violation of freedom of expression and of journalists’ right to liberty and security”, said Mr Schennach.
Moreover, in the context of the current pandemic crisis, detention in penitentiaries constitutes an unjustified risk to health, and even to life. A recent bill proposes that approximately one third of 300,000 Turkish detainees be released, but it excludes those detained for terrorism-related offences, and therefore the majority of the 95 journalists in detention, as they are charged with or convicted of terrorism-related offences, although with no solid justification.
As for Azerbaijan – where there are currently 10 journalists in detention – several journalists are arrested on the ground of fabricated accusations. Elchin Mammad, editor in chief of the Yukselish Namine newspaper, was arrested on 30 March 2020 “for having stolen jewellery”. Since 2015, he has repeatedly been under judicial or police investigations, interrogations, house and office searches. Today, if convicted he faces up to seven years in prison.
Another Azerbaijani journalist and blogger with Kanal24 Internet TV, Ibrahim Vazirov, was arrested on 13 April 2020, days after police had demanded he delete online reports about the social and economic impact of Covid-19. In previous weeks, the journalist had been producing video reports critical of the government’s quarantine measures. A similar case happened to Mirsahib Rahiloglu, a journalist with the Reportyor.info, who had published interviews with citizens expressing frustration at the lack of financial support during the lockdown. He was arrested for “violating lockdown rules” and detained for 30 days. Natig Izbatov, a journalist with online news outlet 7gun.az, was arrested as he was filming interviews with people about the economic effects of the lockdown. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail for violating lockdown rules, despite having official documents which gave him permission to work as a journalist. Moreover, he was allegedly assaulted at the police station, his telephone had been searched and footage and recordings deleted.
“The current situation in Turkey and Azerbaijan is unacceptable. In both these member States, freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, has been violated for several years. Therefore, I call on both Turkey and Azerbaijan to urgently stop these attacks on journalists, in order to uphold the standards established by the Council of Europe and stick to the values promoted by our Organisation,” the General Rapporteur concluded.
As part of coronavirus (COVID-19) preventive measures, the Republic of Turkey imposed a number of restrictions on international air flights operated by Turkish Airlines, as well as on traffic across the border.
Georgia and Turkey agreed to restrict movement of physical persons across the border via the Sarpi checkpoint. The restriction does not apply to cargo carriages.
Given the close people-to-people and business contacts between the two countries, the Vale and Kartsakhi checkpoints will continue functioning.
Having already cancelled air flights to/from many countries, the Republic of Turkey planned to take the same decision with respect to Georgia from 14 March as well. However, by decision of both sides, air carriages will continue to be operated until 20 March 2020, 24:00.
This week Istanbul will host two separate but related international conferences on mediation. One will be devoted to the state of play in the conflict map and capacity for mediation within the membership of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The second one will adopt a broad scope and discuss the connections between sustainable development, peace and mediation; the ways to increase gender and youth inclusion in mediation processes; and a thought provoking session on the role of big data and artificial intelligence in conflict and mediation analysis. It may be thought that conferences are conferences but the Istanbul Mediation Conferences have proven rather influential in cultivating a shared understanding of issues and an agenda for action in the field of mediation and peaceful conflict resolution. As the host of these conferences and the only country that co-chairs the Friends of Mediation Groups in three distinct important international organizations, namely the United Nations, the OIC and the OSCE, Turkey has the ability to share the findings of these conferences in these international organizations.
The fact of the matter is that humanity is facing a distinct challenge in the 21st century. Just when many people thought that the glass is half full in terms of the achievements in international law, institutions, democracy and the rule of law, accountability, free trade, gender equality and others, the empty half of the glass has begun to reassert itself. The symptoms are known to all of us and need no reminding. Trade wars, new forms of international exploitation, geopolitical competitions, great power proxy wars, disintegrating nation states, terrorism, xenophobia, animosity against Islam, raging inequalities and injustice count among the contemporary trends that make up the glass half empty. The challenges of humanity are eating away the achievements and opportunities of humanity. Which side will prevail? The answer depends on how we respond to challenges, including on how much we humans can work together towards positive outcomes. One point is clear: unless we take initiative and be enterprising and humanitarian, the bad will prevail. Wait-and-see attitude is no longer tenable. Policy options differ from mediation to actual use of force against terrorists.
Take the situation in Syria. Turkey’s enterprising and humanitarian approach cleared a total of 4000 square kilometers from two terrorist organizations, DEASH and PKK/PYD/YPG. Had we not intervened, our people would have been under continued assault from these terrorists and a political solution to the Syrian tragedy would have been unreachable. Turkey is doing utmost to relieve humanitarian suffering, hosting the greatest number of refugees worldwide, spending more than the biggest economy in the world as the world’s top humanitarian spender. Turkey is also brokering agreements that save tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives and promoting a political solution based on the territorial integrity of the neighboring Syria.
I gave the example of Syria for a reason. Syria demonstrates to us once again that prevention is important because once the fire of conflict engulfs a nation, then the only thing that remains predictable is that there will be unpredictable consequences on that state. One generation of citizens will be wasted in one way or the other; the future will also be bleak. Everyone, including those who are thousands of kilometers away will come to suffer, either in the form of terrorist threat, economic shock, irregular migration, or wounded human conscience.
If prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts are of paramount importance, then we must take it seriously. This appreciation is driving Turkey’s efforts in the field of mediation as the co-chair of the UN, OSCE and OIC friends of mediation groups and the host to a capacity building mediation training program and the two mediation conferences that we will organize in Istanbul this week.
"Turkey is the largest trade partner for our country" stated Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia at the Reception marking 95th Anniversary of the Republic Day of Turkey.
Head of Government of Georgia congratulated H.E. Fatma Ceren Yazgan, Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary Ambassador of Turkey to Georgia with the Republic Day and noted that Turkey has overcome a number of challenges throughout these 95 years and transformed into a large economic and political power.
According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, many regional and historic projects have jointly been implemented by Georgia and Turkey, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE), Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC), South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars BTK.
"I am thrilled that I have participated in the BTK myself" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Head of Government of Georgia underlined the consistent support of Turkey since Georgia regained its independence.
"We regard Turkey as our strategic friend. At the same time, it is an idea of our international aspirations as Georgia strives to become a fully-fledged member of NATO and Turkey is a great supporter of ours in this endeavor. Hence, Ladies and Gentlemen, I once again wish to congratulate our Turkish friends with the Republic Day and wish them all the best. Friends, I wish you peace and prosperity" concluded the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Official Reception was attended by diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia, officials of non-government and international organizations, mass media, political parties and religious authorities.
The First Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Colonel Nikoloz Janjgava held a farewell meeting with the advisor of the Republic of Turkey sent to Georgia in the framework of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP).
Colonel Nikoloz Janjgava handed over certificate of appreciation to the Turkish advisor Major Ibrahim Polat, thanked for his contribution to the development of the Military Police in Georgia and wished him success. SNGP Turkish Advisor to the Military Police initiative carried out his mission in Georgia for six months. He will be replaced by Captain Muzaffer Buldan.
SNGP Core Team Leader Captain Stephan Annighoefer, international advisors, also representatives of International Relations and Euro-Atlantic Integration Department and Military Police attended the event.