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Azerbaijan, Turkey Team Up for Karabakh Region's High-Tech Transformation

By Ilham Karimli March 11, 2021

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Turkey's leading hi-tech companies will help Azerbaijan turn liberated territories into the high-tech area. / Courtesy

Turkey’s largest innovation hub and investor in technologies, Technopark Istanbul, and Innovation Agency Azerbaijan agreed to team up to transform Azerbaijan’s Karabakh (Garabagh) region into a high-tech development area.

The sides inked Tuesday a memorandum of understanding for the cooperation in realms of high technologies, under which Azerbaijan will benefit from Turkish know-how in high-tech and digital entrepreneurship.

The partnership is poised to develop and implement projects aimed at the technological rebirth of the Karabakh region — internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan liberated from Armenia’s illegal occupation last year. The region will be turned into a high-tech center thanks to the various technology transfer programs, which will also help train young professionals.

Officials from Technopark Istanbul and Innovation Agency Azerbaijan will reportedly hold meetings soon to discuss the details of the agreement.

The Azerbaijani government’s development plans for the Karabakh region follow its liberation from the Armenian occupation in a counter-attack operation codenamed “Iron Fist.”

The latest outbreak of war in the region started on September 27 last year after Armenia’s forces deployed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. The attacks triggered the Azerbaijani forces to take immediate counter-offensive measures for pushing back the assault. The war ended in a tripartite ceasefire statement signed on November 10 by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. By this time, Azerbaijani forces liberated more than 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, from nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation. Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan by December 1 as part of the obligations it took under the ceasefire deal.

President Ilham Aliyev is convinced that high technological development should be one of the key elements of the restoration of the liberated lands, which were deliberately destroyed by Armenia during nearly three decades of occupation. According to the president, the “smart city” and “smart village” concepts will be primary ideas for urban planning and development projects in these lands. 

smart city uses information and communication technologies (ICT) to deliver higher operational efficiency and create an effective municipality-to-resident interaction model by improving both the quality of government services and citizen welfare. These types of cities utilize reliable solutions that address existing problems and improve social and economic quality. Smart applications receive, analyze and manage data in real-time to help municipalities, enterprises, and citizens make better decisions. Citizens acquire direct engagement with smart city ecosystems via smartphones and mobile devices, and connected cars and homes. Distant communication with a city’s physical infrastructure and services helps cut costs and improve sustainability. Among the most common efficient outcomes of a smart city concept is improved energy distribution, streamlined trash collection, decreased traffic congestion, and even improved air quality.

The first “smart village” project in the liberated Azerbaijani lands was launched this February. Under the project, Zangilan’s Aghali village will be restored and turned into a sophisticated high-tech village featuring five components including housing, manufacturing, social services, smart agriculture, and renewable energy. The 200 houses built in the village will be powered by renewable energy sources.

Azerbaijan’s authorities are set to tap into more international expertise and knowledge to use it within the technological development of the liberated Karabakh region.

Previously, Turkey’s leading GOSB techno-park agreed to partner with the Azerbaijani specialists to launch a joint high technologies park — an innovation powerhouse that will house cutting-edge researches and production of high-tech devices in the Karabakh region.