ANKARA: Turkey on Sunday assured complete support for Azerbaijan and asked Armenia to give up its “aggression” after a heavy clash erupted in Baku’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The worst clashes since 2016 broke out on Sunday between arch-foes Azerbaijan and Armenia who have been locked for decades in a territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey is a key ally of Baku with close cultural and linguistic ties with Azerbaijan.
Ankara has no diplomatic relations with Yerevan due to a dispute over the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire which Armenia says is a genocide.
“The Turkish people will support our Azerbaijani brothers with all our means as always,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted.
He accused Armenia of “being the biggest threat in the region to peace and stability” and criticised the international community for failing to give the “necessary and sufficient reaction” to Armenia’s “aggression”.
Erdogan also said he held a phone call with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during which he was “witness once again to his shrewd and determined position”.
“The greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Caucasus is Armenia’s aggression, and it should give up this aggression which will throw the region into fire,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin “strongly” condemned the clashes and said Armenia “once again violated international law”.
He called on the international community to “say stop to this dangerous provocation” in a tweet.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed the crisis on Sunday during a telephone conversation, a Turkish diplomatic source said, without giving details.