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‘Azerbaijan is not alone’: Turkey throws weight behind Baku against historical nemesis Armenia in struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh

‘Azerbaijan is not alone’: Turkey throws weight behind Baku against historical nemesis Armenia in struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh
As hostilities erupted on Sunday between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, top-tier Turkish officials have reaffirmed Ankara’s support for Baku and blamed Yerevan for “playing with fire.”

Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin took to Twitter on the heels of fresh clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh. The senior official made clear that Ankara will side with Azerbaijan – a nation whose language and culture are close to those of Turkey – in the renewed conflict. “We strongly condemn the attack on Armenia against Azerbaijan,” Kalin wrote, adding that the neighboring post-Soviet country “is not alone” and has “Turkey’s full support.”

Relations between Armenia and Turkey have  are officially non-existent, the countries failed to establish diplomatic relations after Yerevan left the USSR in 1991, and have historically been hostile. A major issue is the legacy of the 1915-1917 genocide, in which around a million Armenians were killed under the rule of the Ottoman Turks. 

Omer Celik, a spokesman for the ruling conservative Justice and Development Party led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, echoed Kalin's words. To Celik’s mind, “Armenia plays with fire and threatens regional peace” by carrying out “an unlawful provocation.” 

Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry proclaimed that Azerbaijan “has the right to self-defense in order to protect its people and its territorial integrity.” Certain to anger Yerevan, the statement labeled Armenia as “the biggest obstacle to peace and stability in the region.” 

Also on rt.com Hostilities break out between Armenia & Azerbaijan over long disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, both countries trade blame

Fighting between the sworn enemies resumed earlier on Sunday, with each country blaming the other for starting hostilities over Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia said Azerbaijan’s forces shelled the breakaway region and inflicted civilian casualties, while Baku accused Armenian troops of hitting military and civilian targets as well.

Meanwhile, Nagorno-Karabakh itself – a predominantly Armenian-populated region that fought a war of independence against Azerbaijan three decades ago – has declared martial law and issued a total conscription call for all men older than 18. Local authorities have advised civilians to take cover and remain calm.

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