Richard Giragosian: Armed Forces of Armenia and NKR are the most powerful in the region

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) convened a roundtable discussion today focusing on the regional balance of power, with presentations on defense reform and civil-military relations in Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as a look at these issues in Georgia and Iran.

ACNIS Director of Administration Dr. Karapet Kalenchian presented a brief introduction of the issues of defense reform and the military balance of power in the South Caucasus, which he said “demonstrated the significance of discussing and analyzing the latest developments in regional security.” Dr. Kalenchian added that the “current dynamic nature of defense reform and civil-military relations in Turkey and Azerbaijan represented a challenge to Armenia's national security, calling for greater attention and study.”

Levon Hovsepian, an expert on Turkey from the Institute of Political Research in the Presidential Administration, then presented a detailed study of the issues of defense reform and civil-military relations in Turkey. Hovsepian, who recently published a book on the Turkish military, began with an analysis of the evolution of Turkey's defense and security policy and continued by adding that “Turkey has become a security state” in many aspects. He also stressed that Turkey was now seeking to build its “soft power” and become “a security provider” in the region, but was also “conducting defense reform in line with its attempt to join the European Union.”

ACNIS Director Richard Giragosian presented an analysis examining recent trends in the broader region, with a focus on the status of defense reform in Azerbaijan. Most notably, he stressed that despite Azerbaijan's inflated defense spending, the real test was how they use the money, adding that “the Azerbaijani armed forces remains at the heart of corruption.” He also added an assessment of the Azerbaijani and Georgian armed forces.

ACNIS Senior Analyst Manvel Sargsian closed the event by noting that military force was only one of the crucial elements for the balance of power, adding that “other factors, such as democracy, the rule of law, and political stability were equally important.”

Public Radio of Armenia