by Oleg Burunov
Last week, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar concluded a memorandum on creating a joint centre to control the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey’s presidential office has submitted a motion to the country’s parliament for the deployment of Turkish troops to Azerbaijan, the Anadolu news agency reported on Monday. The parliament is expected to consider this issue in the next few days.
The Kremlin, in turn, referred to Turkey’s “internal procedures”, adding that submitting such a motion pertains to Ankara’s domestic affairs.
The report comes after Turkish President Recep Tayiip Erdogan said last week that Moscow and Ankara had signed a memorandum on setting up a centre for control over the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Kremlin pointed out at the time that Turkey and Russia would cooperate via the centre located on Azerbaijani territory, but that there was “no discussion of joint peacekeeping forces”.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the deployment of a Turkish peacekeeper contingent in Karabakh wasn’t coordinated with any party, recalling that a recent joint statement by Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan makes no mention of Turkey in any manner.
“This is what I can say: the statement does not say a single word about it, the three sides have not agreed on it, the Turkish soldiers’ staying in Karabakh has not been coordinated”, Peskov told reporters.
Peace Deal On Nagorno-Karabakh
Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan earlier adopted a joint declaration on a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, where intense fighting has been underway since late September, claiming the lives of at least 2,300 Armenian servicemen. The Azerbaijani side has yet to disclose its military losses.
According to the document, a full-fledged armistice took effect on 10 November. Under the agreement, Russia will send a peacekeeper contingent to Nagorno-Karabakh comprised of 1,960 servicemen, 90 armoured personnel carriers, and 380 pieces of equipment.
In line with the deal, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan agreed to withdraw Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh as well as on handing over a number of territories to Azerbaijan.
The decades-old crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on 27 September, with Armenia and Azerbaijan accusing one another of starting the hostilities along the line of contact. The standoff began in the late Soviet era, which saw the ethnic Armenian-majority autonomous territory’s attempt to break away from Baku’s control.