Our correspondent was one of the first to visit the object
After the autumn Karabakh war, Moscow and Ankara, with the consent of Baku and Yerevan, agreed to create a joint monitoring center of Russia and Turkey on the territory of the Aghdam region of Azerbaijan. Its main task is to monitor compliance with the truce regime between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The correspondent of MK was one of the first Russian journalists to visit the center and saw how Russian and Turkish servicemen are performing difficult service far from their native places.
Photo: Lina Korsak
The Russian-Turkish Center for Monitoring Compliance with the ceasefire regime in the territory of Karabakh was established in accordance with a memorandum signed by the heads of the defense departments of Russia and Turkey. It appeared on the territory of the Aghdam region of Azerbaijan on January 30, 2021. Before the autumn Karabakh war of 2020, this area, as well as six other neighboring Azerbaijani districts, was held for more than 25 years by the troops of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani families have been refugees all this time.
Now these territories have been liberated, and peaceful life is returning here.
The point of deployment of the Monitoring Center is located eight kilometers from the line of contact of the sides of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan. If you go there from Baku, the travel time will be about four hours. It is impossible to get there faster, with all the desire, there are no normal roads here yet.
After the beauty of the Azerbaijani land, the destroyed and scorched Karabakh causes some painfully painful feeling. Among the remains of buildings, there are only signs warning that everything is mined around.
& mdash; The fiercest battles were fought here during the first Karabakh war, back in the 90s,— & nbsp;says a colleague. The Aghdam and Kelibajar districts are sown with mines like potatoes.
Unmanned control system
There is no need to explain that there is a military object in front of you. Everything becomes clear just by looking at the fenced territory, people in uniform with weapons in their hands, flags of the three states waving in the wind.
At the checkpoint, the Azerbaijani military are asked to provide documents and only after checking are they allowed to go inside. As one of the Russian officers later said, the security of the facility with an area of about 4 hectares and ensuring the life of the center is entrusted to the shoulders of the Azerbaijani army.
The headquarters of the joint center is formed on a parity basis, it represents an equal number of representatives from each side, the commandant told before starting to get acquainted with the center itself. The office and household premises are built on an open area, according to the modular principle, and are equipped with everything necessary for service and recreation.
At the headquarters, work does not stop either day or night. On the right side of the entrance, officers are sitting in two rows opposite each other, staring intently at computer monitors. On the one hand, Russian, on the other-Turkish. On the TV screens installed above their heads, «native & raquo; news channels.
Photo: Lina Korsak
In the rooms of the commanders, and as it is not difficult to guess, there are also two of them, there are portraits of political and military leaders of Russia and Turkey on the walls.
Representatives of the center are asking us to speed up. It is absolutely impossible for military personnel to be distracted by strangers, because the tasks set require increased attention.
& mdash; There were, but nothing significant.
After the working atmosphere of the monitoring center, we dive into everyday issues. Residential modules also have a clear division, with Russian specialists on the one hand, and Turkish colleagues on the other. But this is probably the only difference, since both outside and inside they are absolutely identical to each other.
Four people live in a two-room building. Of course, there is not much space, but everything you need is there.
Only professional military specialists who are ready to endure the most spartan conditions are sent to the monitoring center on six-month business trips.
& mdash; No. The center is located far enough away from populated areas, so such trips are not provided.
And in fact, as the military themselves told, some of them have never even been to the capital of Azerbaijan for several months of service.
Photo: Lina Korsak
& mdash; Sports,— & nbsp;without hesitation, the officer answers. — & nbsp; All the conditions for this are there. Gym, outdoor playground for volleyball and football. We regularly organize competitions with our foreign colleagues, and even hold chess tournaments.
By the way, there are two gyms on the territory of the center. All according to the same principle of division.
They also approached the solution of everyday issues in an army-like manner, all without leaving the service. Here you will find a barber shop, a mini-atelier, and a laundry in the neighborhood.
Minor health problems of the military personnel of the center are solved on the spot. There are two doctors in the medical office. Although, as the followers of Hippocrates themselves admitted, they do not share patients. If someone needs help ,they will always help.
Fortunately, during the existence of the center, the military did not have any serious ailments.
There is a place where you can think about the soul in your free time from official tasks. Prayer rooms for Orthodox and Muslims are located separately.
& mdash; Go to the dining room,— & nbsp;the commanding voice of one of the officers interrupts the journalists ‘ questions.
It turns out that the time has approached dinner so imperceptibly.
Of course, I didn’t want to eat in the heat, but it was very interesting to see how the servicemen were fed in conditions remote from civilization.
— Azerbaijani cooks work in the kitchen,— & nbsp;the officer said on the way to the dining room. National dishes are often prepared by Russian, Turkish, local, of course. It is always varied and delicious.
— That’s how it will be at the end of six months, then I will be able to answer your question,— & nbsp;the officer laughs in response. — & nbsp;So far I’ve only been here for three months.
Photo: Lina Korsak
Our bus, swaying on the road, was moving further and further away from the center. After a while, he completely disappeared from view.
And again, outside the window — devastation and minefields. But maybe normal life will return here soon. At least, the employees of the Russian-Turkish monitoring center are doing everything for this.