Turkish leader: Turkey won't sway Russia's decision on military base transfer

RIA Novosti, Russia
June 30 2005

Baku, June 30 (RIA Novosti, Gerai Dadashev) - Turkey will not try
to sway Russia's decision on the transfer of its military bases from
Georgia to Armenia, the Turkish Prime Minister said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a press conference here Thursday that it
was up to Russia to decide whether its bases should be re-deployed
and that Turkey could only be a passive onlooker in this situation.

A week ago, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev announced plans to increase
national defense spending to $300 million, almost double last year's
$175 million. He said the decision had been prompted, among other
things, by Russia's planned transfer of its military bases from
Georgia to the neighboring Armenia.

Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said that only part
of the weaponry and hardware would be moved in, in order to comply
with the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. Russia will not
hand any of its weapons over to Armenia, he said.

On May 30, Russia and Georgia agreed that Russia's two bases pull out
by 2008. The withdrawal of military hardware from the Akhalkalaki
base near the Georgian-Armenian border is scheduled for 2006 and
the facility's closure is due the following year. The Batumi base,
on the Black Sea coast, will go in 2008.