A top diplomat of Turkey visited Baku on Tuesday to show solidarity with Azerbaijan in its conflict for decades with Armenia about the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Since Sept. 27, severe fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the region has led to death of both servicemen and civilians. Nagorno-Karabakh is located inside Azerbaijan however it has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces supported by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
The confrontations have persisted although several international calls for a cease-fire. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has criticized demands for truce and requested the international community to back Azerbaijan, and said that previous cease-fires had failed to end what he described the occupation of Armenia to the Azerbaijani territory.
Cavusoglu reported after a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov: Let’s have a cease-fire, OK, but what will happen after that? Will you be able to tell Armenia to immediately withdraw from Azerbaijan’s territory? Or are you able to draw up a solution for it to withdraw? No. We have supported efforts for a peaceful resolution, but Armenia has enjoyed the fruits of the occupation for 30 years.
Moreover, Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, who also met with Cavusoglu, thanked Turkey for its backing, and he said This support inspires us, gives us additional strength and at the same time plays an important role in ensuring stability and prosperity in the region.
Azerbaijan declared that the withdrawal of Armenia from the separatist region was the one condition to end the combat, while Armenian officials claimed that Turkey’ was involved in the conflict and supplying Azerbaijan with weapons and fighters from Syria.
It should be noted that Turkey has publicly supported Azerbaijan in the recent escalade of violence however it dismissed any sending of arms or foreign fighters. Indeed, Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous region within Azerbaijan during the Soviet era. It announced its independence from Azerbaijan in 1991, almost three months before the Soviet Union’s failure. A full-scale war, which started in 1992, has killed an estimated 30,000 people, and by the time the war finished in 1994, Armenian forces not only control Nagorno-Karabakh but also substantial areas outside the territory borders.
According to Nagorno-Karabakh officials, about 220 servicemen on their side have killed in the confrontations. The state-run Armenian Unified Infocenter reported that 21 civilians have been killed in the region and 82 others injured. However, Azerbaijani authorities haven’t given details about military casualties, it just declared that 27 civilians were killed and 141 injured.