Parliament extends Turkish peacekeepers’ presence in Azerbaijan

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The Turkish parliament on Wednesday extended the deployment of Turkish peacekeeping forces in Azerbaijan for another year, Agence France-Presse reported, citing the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Turkey is one of Azerbaijan’s closest allies and has strongly defended its right to reclaim lands it lost to ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1988-94 war.

The motion, voted in the parliament Wednesday, said a joint center established by Turkish and Russian armed forces to monitor the ceasefire between Azerbaijan and its arch-foe Armenia “successfully continues its activities,” according to Anadolu.

Last year, Russia helped broker a peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan which ended six weeks of fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

After the ceasefire, the Turkish parliament authorized sending troops to Azerbaijan to establish a “peacekeeping center” with Russia to monitor the truce.

Under the Russia-brokered deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territories to Azerbaijan in the disputed enclave as well as surrounding areas it had controlled since a war in 1990s, as well as allowing the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in the area.

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