Azerbaijan displays Turkish cruise missile in military parade in ‘historic first’
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency on June 26 described the event as “a first in history” for the inclusion of SOM-B1, Turkey’s first indigenous long-range, autonomous, high-precision air-to-surface cruise missile designed and produced by Roketsan.
Azeri President İlham Aliyev saluted the armed forces during the parade in Baku before focusing in his speech on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“Karabakh is Azeri land. Azerbaijan will never accept the occupation. Our army has been equipped with the most modern arms and technologies. Only a fraction of our arms are on display here. Armenia can never compete with us,” Aliyev said in the ceremony.
Turkey was represented in the ceremony by Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli and Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar.
High-ranking representatives from Pakistan, Belarus, Bahrain, the UAE, Georgia, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Ukraine were also among the guests.
The decades-long dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh has its immediate roots in a 1990s war that left some 30,000 people dead after ethnic-Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan seized territory from Azerbaijan.
Despite years of internationally-mediated negotiations since the 1994 ceasefire, the two sides have not yet signed a final peace deal.
Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but the ethnic-Azeri community - which before the war made up around 25 percent of the population - was entirely driven out. Almost all of the current 145,000 population of the enclave is Armenian and the region has declared itself the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.