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Time to end 'occupation' of Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkish leader Erdogan tells Armenia as border clashes with Azerbaijan continue

Time to end 'occupation' of Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkish leader Erdogan tells Armenia as border clashes with Azerbaijan continue
Peace will be achieved in Nagorno-Karabakh only if Armenia ends its "occupation" and vacates the inherently "Azerbaijani land," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared as fighting over the disputed region continues.

"The crisis in the region that started with the occupation of Karabakh must be put to an end," Erdogan said in Istanbul on Monday. Calling it "Azerbaijani land," the Turkish leader suggested the region "will regain peace and serenity" once Armenians abandon it. 

Diplomacy could play a role in fixing the perceived historical injustice, Erdogan continued. "Recent developments have given all influential regional countries an opportunity to put in place realistic and fair solutions. We hope this opportunity will be utilized in the best way possible," he stated.

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The disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh – an enclave inside internationally recognised Azerbaijani territory predominantly populated by Armenians – has been a bone of contention between the two South Caucasus nations for three decades. Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bloody war over it in the 1990s, with subsequent border clashes sporadically erupting between the sides, despite an official ceasefire.

A fresh wave of hostilities erupted on Sunday, with Yerevan accusing Azeri forces of launching a full-blown offensive on Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku said it was responding to the shelling of its soldiers and civilians.

Turkey has openly supported Baku, with President Erdogan calling Yerevan "the biggest threat" to peace in the region. Armenia has warned Ankara that it should not meddle in the ongoing conflict.

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