Russia Slams Turkey’s ‘unacceptable’ Stance On Karabakh Clashes
Russia on Friday denounced Turkey’s position on the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorny Karabakh region after a Russian-mediated ceasefire ended the worst clashes in decades in the breakaway enclave.
“Statements made by Turkish leaders are totally unacceptable for one simple reason — they are calling not for peace but for war,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference in the Armenian capital of Yerevan.
Turkey pledged its full support to its traditional ally Azerbaijan after the latest deadly clashes erupted in Karabakh between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces on April 2.
“Unfortunately, we have already got accustomed to such quirks from the current Turkish leadership,” Lavrov added.
In a war in the 1990s that claimed some 30,000 lives, separatists backed by Yerevan seized control of the mountainous region inside Azerbaijan.
More than 100 people have been killed on both sides in fierce clashes that ended with a Russian-mediated ceasefire on April 6.
The outbreak sparked fears of a wider conflict that could drag in regional powers Russia and Turkey, which have been at loggerheads since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane in Syria in November.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has declared that “Karabakh will one day return to its original owner” while his prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, vowed to stand by Baku “until the apocalypse.”
Azerbaijan and Armenia have never signed a peace deal despite a 1994 ceasefire and sporadic violence on the line of contact regularly claims the lives of soldiers on both sides.
Energy-rich Azerbaijan, whose military spending exceeds Armenia’s entire state budget, has repeatedly threatened to take back the breakaway region by force.