Turkey urges NATO to back Azerbaijan’s unity

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Turkey’s top diplomat has called on the international community, particularly NATO, to demand that Armenia withdraw from Azerbaijani soil.

“It is normal for NATO to call for a ceasefire in a balanced way, as well as for a peaceful solution to the problem,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Oct. 5 at a press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

“However, everybody, especially NATO, should be present in the call for the resolution of this matter. That is, Armenia should withdraw from there within the framework of international law and the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and under the territorial and border integrity of Azerbaijan. Otherwise, this problem cannot be solved.”

The Turkish foreign minister also accused Armenian forces of targeting civilians along the front line. “Armenia directly targets civilians [in Azerbaijan], which is essentially a war crime,” Çavuşoğlu said.

NATO is “deeply concerned” about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Stoltenberg said, calling for a peaceful solution to the dispute.

The NATO official said he expected Turkey to “use its influence” to calm the conflict as the death toll rises in the region.

“It is extremely important that we convey a very clear message to all parties that they should cease fighting immediately and that we should support all efforts to find a peaceful, negotiated solution,” Stoltenberg said, noting that there was no military solution to the dispute.

Commenting on the tension between Ankara and Athens with regard to hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Stoltenberg said the parties had established a military de-confliction mechanism to reduce the risks of incidents and accidents in the region.

“This includes a commitment to use a secure hotline that has been set up between Greece and Turkey, available 24/7. The mechanism was achieved through the constructive engagement of Turkey and Greece at NATO headquarters,” he said.

“I welcome this and pay tribute to both allies for their efforts. And we stand ready to develop it further. The de-confliction mechanism can help to create space for diplomatic efforts,” Stoltenberg said.

Çavuşoğlu reportedly welcomed the secretary-general’s efforts.

Stoltenberg also touched on the Russian-made air defense systems that Turkey purchased, angering NATO allies, particularly the United States.

“We are concerned about the consequences of Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 system. The system could pose a risk to allied aircraft and could lead to U.S. sanctions,” Stoltenberg said.

This is a national decision for Turkey to make, but the S-400 cannot be integrated into NATO’s air and missile defense system, he said.

“And I urge Turkey to work with other allies to find alternative solutions. We discussed this during our meeting today,” Stoltenberg said.

Armenia commits war crime by attacking civilians: Defense minister

In the meantime, Turkey’s top soldier has accused Armenia of committing war crimes by targeting civilians and residential areas in its armed conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The Armenian authorities will be tried before humanity’s conscience, particularly its people, in the coming period. Armenia should pull back from the lands it occupies, end its cooperation with terrorists and evacuate mercenaries before it commits more war crimes,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a videoconference on Oct. 5.

Akar echoed Çavuşoğlu’s criticisms against international powers, noting, “Those who remained silent on Armenia’s occupation for the past 30 years should now see its real face and exert efforts to return these lands to its real owners.’

Turkey should take part in solution process: Aliyev 

The Azerbaijani president said on Oct. 5 Turkey should participate in the solution process in the recent conflict at the
Azerbaijan-Armenia front line.

“Turkey, with its strong position in the international community, should participate in the solution process in [Upper] Karabakh,” Ilham Aliyev said.

Underlining that Turkey’s advanced armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) showed the country’s potential, Aliyev said the UAVs help drop the number of casualties in the conflict zone.

He also stressed that Armenia is trying to pull Russia into the war by attacking the Azerbaijani territories.

Hurriyet Daily News

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