Turkey says Armenia is obstacle to peace after clashes with Azerbaijan


ANKARA – Turkey urged Armenia on Sunday to immediately cease what it called hostility towards Azerbaijan that could “throw the region into fire”, following clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia declared martial law and mobilised its male population after the clashes. Turkey has condemned Armenia for what it said were provocations against Azerbaijan.

“The biggest obstacle to peace and stability in the Caucasus is the hostile stance of Armenia and it must immediately turn back from this hostility that will send the region into fire,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sunday, adding that Ankara would support Baku with “all its resources”.

There was no immediate reaction to Turkey’s comments from Armenia.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have long been at odds over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly ethnic Armenian region within Azerbaijan that declared independence in 1991. A ceasefire was agreed in 1994, both sides frequently accuse each other of attacks.

On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the clashes by phone, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said. Russia has been a mediator in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Armenia had violated the ceasefire with Sunday’s attacks and called on international community to “see this and separate the right from the wrong”.

“The certified provocateur Armenia has once again shown the world just what it understand from rights, laws, promises made and ceasefires,” Oktay said on Twitter. “Turkey stands with its Azeri brothers, in however way needed.”

Turkey has traditionally backed Muslim-majority Azerbaijan, and Ankara’s defence industry chief said in July his sector was ready to support Baku.


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