Turkey’s actions of arming Azerbaijan and supplying foreign fighters shows Ankara’s “expansionist ambitions” in the Caucasus region, Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.
“It’s obvious that Turkey, with participation of which the military aggression of Azerbaijan against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) was preplanned and still continues, does not give up its stance of further destabilizing the situation and undermining the agreements reached,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Along with supplying Azerbaijan with foreign terrorist fighters from the Middle East, military equipment and experts, Turkey has also been sponsoring Azerbaijan’s information and political campaign aimed at undermining the provisions of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities reached at the level of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia on October 10, 2020, at the initiative of the Russian President Vladimir Putin,” it added.
Armenia’s ministry added that Ankara’s support to Azerbaijan indicated “Turkey’s aspirations to turn our region along with other neighboring regions to a platform for its expansionist ambitions.”
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had said on September 28 Ankara had dispatched at least 300 proxies from northern Syria.
French President Emmanuel Macron had also said that intelligence reports had established that 300 Syrian fighters from the Syrian city of Aleppo had passed through the Turkish city of Gaziantep en route for Azerbaijan.
"These fighters are known, tracked and identified," he alleged, adding that he would call Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "in the coming days."
Turkey has said it will "do what is necessary" to support Azerbaijan, but has denied sending mercenaries.
Armenia’s ambassador to Moscow said on September 28 that Turkey had sent around 4,000 fighters from northern Syria to Azerbaijan and that they were fighting there, an assertion denied by an aide to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.
Neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in an armed conflict since September 27 over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, killing hundreds of people.
The disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, home to about 150,000 people, which broke from Baku's control in a war in the 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.
Its separatist government is strongly backed – but not officially recognized as independent – by Armenia.
Turkey strongly backs Azerbaijan and Russia has a military treaty with Armenia.
- With Reuters and AFP