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June 16, 2010

ACNIS Assesses the Regional Balance of Power and Analyzes Defense Reform in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Broader Region

Yerevan—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.

After welcoming the nearly fifty participants, 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.”

The second speaker, ACNIS Director Richard Giragosian, then 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.”

The presentations were then followed by a series of questions and answers, and featured a lively exchange with the audience.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) is a leading independent strategic research center located in Yerevan, Armenia.  As an independent, objective institution committed to conducting professional policy research and analysis, ACNIS strives to raise the level of public debate and seeks to broaden public engagement in the public policy process, as well as fostering greater and more inclusive public knowledge. Founded in 1994, ACNIS is the institutional initiative of Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Over the past fifteen years, ACNIS has acquired a prominent reputation as a primary source of professional independent research and analysis covering a wide range of national and international policy issues.

For further information on the Center call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; email root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am; or visit www.acnis.am.

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Armenian version