Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday expressed full support for Azerbaijan’s military operation in its ethnically Armenian breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Agence France-Presse reported.
Turkey is a historic ally of predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan and views mostly Christian Armenia as one of its main regional rivals.
“We support the steps taken by Azerbaijan — with whom we act together with the motto of one nation, two states — to defend its territorial integrity,” Erdoğan said in an online statement.
Ankara supplied Azerbaijan with combat drones and other military equipment that helped Baku win back swathes of the breakaway region in a short but brutal war three years ago.
The Turkish foreign ministry had earlier said the new operation was sparked by “long-standing armed attacks and provocations” against Azerbaijani forces in the region.
“As a result of the legitimate and justified concerns it has repeatedly expressed regarding the situation on the ground in the nearly three years since the end of the Second Karabakh War, Azerbaijan has had to take the measures it deems necessary on its own sovereign territory,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.
But the ministry added that only direct talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan could permanently resolve the decades-long conflict.
“We believe that ensuring the continuation of the comprehensive negotiation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia… is the only way to establish peace, security, prosperity and permanent stability in the region,” the Turkish statement said.