ANKARA (Trend.az)—Turkey will join other NATO alliance countries in September for a six day disaster response exercise in Armenia, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday in an interview with the Azeri ANS TV station.
The exercise, organized by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center, is part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace initiative.
It will be held on September 11-17 and will including a command post element, and training and demonstration day. It will be based on a fictitious scenario in which a serious civil emergency erupts in the town of Arzni in Armenia’s Kotayk Province.
Davutoglu sought to play down his government’s involvement in the exercises, denying it was a signal that Ankara would soon be dropping its blockade on Armenia. “Many people are exaggerating this issue,” he said. “First, these exercises are not military; they are just related to action to be taken during earthquakes. As far as I know, Azerbaijan is joining this too. Our participation is related to the organization of field hospitals and we take part in these events only because Turkey is a NATO member.”
“As you know, we have sent field hospitals to Pakistan as humanitarian aid,” he added. “We take part in this training on humanitarian grounds, while the issue of opening borders is not on the agenda or subject to discussion.”