Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Armenia to end the “occupation” of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is disputed by Azerbaijan.
This came as fighting raged for the second day in a row, as the decades-long conflict renewed in the Caucasus region in southeastern Europe.
Erdogan said that ending Armenias “occupation” and its withdrawal from the region is the only course of action that would establish peace.
The Turkish Anadolu news agency quoted Erdogan as saying that “Turkey will continue to stand with friendly and brotherly Azerbaijan in all its capabilities.”
Erdogan’s chief adviser, Elenur Civik, said Turkey had told its allies in Azerbaijan to go as far as they wanted.
Dozens of people were reported killed in fighting between the forces of the two sides on Monday.
The mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been under Armenian control since the war stopped in 1994.
During that war, tens of thousands of people were killed and a million people forced from their homes.
On Monday evening, authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh reported that 26 more of their soldiers had been killed in the fighting, bringing their total losses to more than 80.
Other countries are concerned that the recent fighting could spread outside the region and attract neighboring powers, including Turkey, Russia and Iran.
They are also keen to maintain stability in the region, as the main gas and oil pipelines pass through it.
The latest fighting began on Sunday, with Armenia and Azerbaijan blaming each other for the escalation.
The two authorities said that they had mobilized more soldiers and declared martial law in some areas.
The fighting is the fiercest in the conflict since 2016, when at least 200 people were killed in clashes.
What an opinion Other countries Of conflict؟
Turkey announced its support for Azerbaijan, while Russia – which has military bases in Armenia but is also friendly to Azerbaijan – called for an immediate ceasefire.
Armenia accused Turkey of providing direct military support to Azerbaijan to help it gain control of the territories, a claim it recently denied.
what do you say Whoever Armenia and Azerbaijan?
In an interview with the BBC, Armenian Foreign Minister Zahrab Manatsakanyan accused Azerbaijan of sabotaging a peaceful settlement of the conflict and insisted that Armenia should defend the region.
A spokesman for the Azerbaijani presidential administration told the BBC that his country was taking “counter measures” in the face of Armenias provocations.
Nagorno Karabakh Key facts
- A mountainous area with an area of about 4,400 square kilometers
- It is traditionally inhabited by Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks
- In the Soviet era, it became an autonomous region within the Republic of Azerbaijan
- It is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but the majority of its inhabitants are of Armenian origin
- An estimated one million people were displaced by the war between 1988 and 1994, and nearly 30,000 people were killed
- Separatist forces captured some additional territory around the enclave in Azerbaijan in the 1990s war
- The stalemate has largely prevailed since a ceasefire began in 1994
- Turkey openly supports Azerbaijan
- Russia has military bases in Armenia
What New in battlefield؟
In addition to the deaths announced on Monday, authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday announced that 16 people had been killed and more than 100 injured.
The Armenian authorities said that 200 of their citizens were injured in the clashes, according to the agency “Interfax”.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan said two of its citizens were killed on Monday after five people from one family were killed on Sunday. It also announced that 30 other people were injured.
The Nagorno-Karabakh authorities said their forces had recaptured some of the lands that Azerbaijani forces had occupied on Sunday.
On Monday, the Azerbaijani government said it had occupied sites of strategic importance in the disputed region.
In July, at least 16 people were killed in border clashes, which led to the largest demonstration in years in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, where there were calls for the takeover of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Other international reactions
- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is “extremely concerned” and urges both sides to stop the fighting
- The Russian Foreign Minister held urgent talks with both Armenian and Azerbaijani leadership
- France, which has a large Armenian community, calls for an immediate ceasefire and dialogue
- Iran, which borders both Azerbaijan and Armenia, offers to mediate peace talks
- US President Donald Trump says the United States is seeking to stop the violence
What is the background?
In 1988, near the end of Soviet rule, Azerbaijani forces and Armenian separatists began a bloody war that left Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenian hands after signing a truce in 1994.
Tens of thousands were killed in the war and many Azerbaijanis were forced to flee their homes.
The region is currently de facto independent, and it is highly dependent on Armenias support. But it is not recognized by any member of the United Nations, including Armenia.
Also, large tracts of Azeri land around the enclave are under Armenian control.
The negotiations have so far failed to reach a lasting peace agreement, and the conflict in the region remains one of the “frozen conflicts” in Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Karabakh is the Russian translation of an Azeri word meaning “black garden”, while Nagorno is a Russian word meaning “mountainous”. Armenians prefer to call the area Artsakh, which is an ancient Armenian name for the area.
Both sides have killed soldiers on the other side over the years in sporadic ceasefire violations. Armenia, which does not have any maritime borders, has suffered from severe economic problems due to the closure of the borders with neighboring Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Russia, France and the United States co-chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in the Minsk European Group, which is trying to mediate an end to the conflict.