Friday, June 21, 2024

Erdogan says Azerbaijan ‘forced’ to conduct operation in Nagorno-Karabakh

Baku was forced to conduct its counterterrorism operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Monday after talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, in Nakhchivan.

“Regrettably, nothing was done to alleviate Azerbaijan’s concerns in Karabakh. So it was forced to conduct this operation. This Azerbaijani victory has opened the door for full-fledged normalization in the region. I am convinced that we must capitalize on this opportunity. We expect Armenia to respond to the olive branch extended to it and take steps in good faith,” the TRT television channel quoted him as saying.

“There are no losers when a peaceful solution is found. Our duty to our people is to ensure peace, tranquility, and prosperity in the region. We are determined to carry out this duty. And we want our vis-a-vis to demonstrate similar sincerity,” he continued, adding that Azerbaijan’s operation “was held in a very short time and with maximal care for the [security of the] civilian population.”

Aliyev also said on Mondau the reintegration of Karabakh Armenians into Azerbaijani society will be successful.

“The city of Yevlakh hosted a meeting between representatives of Karabakh Armenians and officials from Azerbaijan’s state agencies a couple of days ago. Another meeting is taking place in Khankendi today. I haven’t received a report on its outcome yet, but I am sure that the process of reintegration of Karabakh Armenians into Azerbaijani society will proceed successfully,” Aliyev stated following talks with Erdogan.

According to Aliyev, although it has been only five days since the end of an anti-terrorist operation in Karabakh, Azerbaijan is already sending humanitarian aid to Karabakh Armenians.

“This once again shows that the people who live in the Karabakh Region are Azerbaijani citizens regardless of their ethnic background and the Azerbaijani government will ensure their safety and rights,” he stressed.

On September 19, tensions flared up again in Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku announced it was launching what it described as “local anti-terrorist measures” and demanded the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the region.

Yerevan, in turn, announced there were no Armenian forces in Karabakh, calling what was happening “an act of large-scale aggression.” Residents of the Armenian capital took to the streets to protest outside the Armenian government building, blaming the country’s leadership and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for the situation.

On September 20, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced that an agreement had been reached in coordination with the Russian peacekeeping contingent to suspend the anti-terrorist operation in Nagorno-Karabakh. On September 21, representatives of Baku and the Armenian population of Karabakh met in the Azerbaijani city of Yevlakh “to discuss reintegration issues.” Karabakh residents began evacuating to Armenia on September 24.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has stated that he expected about 120,000 civilians to leave the region for Armenia due to “the danger of ethnic cleansing”.

The majority of Karabakh Armenians do not accept Azerbaijan’s promises to guarantee their rights.

The first refugees arrived in Armenia on Sunday and 6,650 people have so far entered, Yerevan said on Monday.

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