Erdogan voices 'wholehearted support' for Azerbaijan

AFP , Thursday 21 Sep 2023

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday expressed "wholehearted support" for Azerbaijan in a call with counterpart Ilham Aliyev following Baku's military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Turkish presidency said.

Erdogan - Aliyev
File photo: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (L) and Turkey s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speak to the media in Fuzuli, in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. AP


"President Erdogan reiterated Turkey's wholehearted support for Azerbaijan to Aliyev," Erdogan's office said, adding that the two discussed "the latest situation in the operation initiated by Azerbaijan".

Erdogan's expression of support follows Azerbaijan's announcement on Wednesday that it had regained control over breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh for the first time in decades after Armenian separatists agreed to lay down their arms in the face of a military operation that they said killed 200 people.

The stunning collapse of separatist resistance represents a major victory for Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in his quest to bring the Armenian-majority region back under Baku's control.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars over the mountainous region.

The years of conflict have been marked by abuses on both sides, and there are concerns of a fresh refugee crisis as Karabakh's Armenian population fears being forced out.

A day after Azerbaijan launched its military operation, Baku and the ethnic Armenian authorities in Karabakh announced a ceasefire had been brokered by Russian peacekeepers.

"Azerbaijan restored its sovereignty as a result of successful anti-terrorist measures in Karabakh," Aliyev said in a televised address.

He claimed that most of the Armenian forces in the region had been destroyed and said the withdrawal of separatist troops had already begun.

The attack left "at least 200 killed and more than 400 wounded", Nagorno-Karabakh separatist official Gegham Stepanyan said.

Late on Wednesday, Armenia's defence ministry said Azerbaijan had fired on its positions along the border between the arch-foes. Such frontier skirmishes are frequent.

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