Turkey Assists Georgia in NATO Accession

“Soon Georgian armed forces will reach NATO standards and become guarantee for peace and stability in the region. Turkish armed forces stand on this principle when assisting the Georgian army” – said Colonel General Zafer Ozqan, Commander of the Rear Services of Turkish General Staff, during his visit to Georgia.

3-member delegation of the Turkish armed forces started unofficial three-day visit to Georgia on January 26. The group also included the head of a department of the general staff and the head of the planning directorate.

Turkish militaries met Georgian Defense Minister Lieutenant General David Tevzadze and Chief of General Staff Johnny Pirtskhalaishvili.

Simultaneously, the issues of bilateral military and political cooperation were discussed in Ankara as well, where representatives of the Turkish and Georgian foreign ministries held political consultations on January 26-30.

On January 28 Georgian Defense Minister David Tevzadze awarded the Turkish guests with the honorary credentials for support and assistance rendered to the Georgian defense.

“Georgia is a very important country for Turkey. Georgia’s neighbors, as well as the countries of Eurasia need stability and peace in Georgia” – Zafer Ozqan said.

So far 706 Georgian servicemen were trained by the Turkish military, including 180 trained on site in Turkey.

Zafer Ozqan stated that the Turkish armed forces are ready to share with the Georgian partners their experience of relations with NATO.

The Turkish delegation visited the 11th Brigade – a Georgian military unit, which is closest to the NATO standards.
The sides have worked out the priorities, which include rehabilitation of the infrastructure of the 11th Brigade, as well as completion of already launched projects such as reconstruction of the military airfield in Marneuli, eastern Georgia and training of the rapid deployment forces.

Turkey’s decision to assist Georgia in modernization of the former Russian military base in Vaziani, near Georgian capital Tbilisi, is especially important. The Turkish side plans to invest 1 million USD for this purpose.

Starting from 1998 the Turkish military assistance to Georgia amounted to 28 million USD in total.

In 2001 the Turkish side granted Georgian defense system additional 1,2 million USD. Nowadays the new grant agreements are in process of preparation. It is expected that the same delegation will visit Georgia again in the nearest future.

By Salome Jashi, Civil Georgia