By | Rachel Brooks
March 9, 2021
Software base located in Izmir Technology Development Zone. Turkish tech and Azerbaijani tech sign deals as Azerbaijan works toward revamping infrastructure post conflict.
Azerbaijan’s construction industry is set to thrive following the end of the Karabakh conflict episode.
On March 8, the Global Construction Review published a report that analyzed the Azerbaijani construction sector. The report found that Azerbaijani construction had plummeted due to the decline in oil prices. The country’s construction industry had been on the decline for three straight years. However, it is estimated that, in 2021, the industry will rebound as a result of the positive outcome for Azerbaijan in the recent Karabakh conflict episode. The Karabakh conflict paused in November, after a Russian-brokered ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The effort to reconstruct Azerbaijan was well underway last year when the Azerbaijani State Agency of the Roads announced the intent to repair or rebuild 2,661 km of road.
The agenda for repairing roads will be prioritized, as the post-Karabakh toll on construction makes the task a daunting on. On February 22, AzerNews (Trend) reported a Shamakhi-Guba was not in the works, but that discussions regarding the road may be put on the table again in the near future. On March 2, AzerNews reported that Azerbaijan was set to lay a “multi-kilometer tunnel” in Kalbajar. AzerNews cited a press conference by Anar Najafli, the press secretary of the State Agency of the Azerbaijan Automobile Roads. Najafli stressed that the Kalbajar tunnel through Murovdag mountain project is “one of the significant projects” planned for the liberated territories.
This is an example of how highway projects must be prioritized to meet the demand.
GCR stated that the potential rebound will likely be driven by a $1.3bn rebuilding effort in Karabakh. The rebuilding efforts were reported by Trend News Agency on March 5. Trend News Agency interviewed a senior analyst with the Center for Post-Soviet Studies, Stanislav Pritchin. While he expressed hope that Armenia would join Azerbaijan in these efforts, Pritchin noted that serious stress in the relations between Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia still exists. Pritchin noted that, for example, many politicians in Armenia see an opening of borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey as “betrayal.”
Azerbaijan and Turkey likewise concluded talks to strengthen their cultural collaboration on March 9. Anadolu Agency reported that, among the many cultural collaboration ambitions, Istanbul’s Teknopark will support establishing a high-tech park in Azerbaijan. Teknopark has been in talks with Azerbaijan’s Innovation Agency to fulfill this goal, and the two entities signed a memorandum on March 9.
“High level talks” are expected between the two entities in the near future. These meetings will clarify details of the cooperation, as well as what next steps need to be taken.
Both Turkey and Azerbaijan share Turkic ethnic roots. While a cultural collaboration between the two states is a natural progression of this shared ethnic identity, it has been a subject of controversy in the politics of the post-Karabakh conflict effort. Rival nations met this collaboration with anger and called for sanctions. The Greek City Times posted a guest blog that called Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia the “axis of mercenary and terrorist evil” and called for sanctions to be placed on the nations. The post alleged a “flagrant” violation of the UN’s International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing, and Training of Mercenaries or the UNMERC. The post argued that Azerbaijan had deployed “thousands of mercenaries” without giving a citation for this claim.
Other commentary on the Turkish-Azerbaijani culture collaboration speculated that Turkey and Azerbaijan were moving toward “one nation, one state.” A commentary piece appeared in Ahval News, a Cyprus-based division of the Al Arab News Agency, on March 6 that questioned the relationship between Turkey and Azerbaijan and stated that it was at “a historic high” in the aftermath of the Karabakh conflict.
The commentator, Rovshan Mammadli, whose piece was originally posted by Open Caucasus Media, called the relationship between the two nations “Turkophilia” and stated that a renewed love of Turkey was at an all-time high in Azerbaijan. Mammadli also noted that the Azerbaijani billionaire Ilham Rahimov who, in an interview with pro-government newspaper Yeni Musavat, stated that Turkey and Azerbaijan should move from “one nation-two states” to “one nation one state”. Rahimov’s statements and suggestions were controversial partly due to his relationship with leaders Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a former classmate.
It is unclear if this paradigm shift is a near-future possibility, but discussion of closer ties between the two Turkic states have created some buzz in the western media, as reconstruction and post-conflict rehab of Azerbaijan will benefit from its relationship with Turkey.