BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:10 P.M.) – Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Monday that Azerbaijan will not stop its hostilities in Karabakh and its adjacent areas until the complete withdrawal of Armenian forces from “occupied Azerbaijani lands.”
In a speech delivered on Monday at the opening of the new academic year 2020-2021 at the Turkish State National Defense University, Akar said that Azerbaijan is a friendly country, even a brother, to Turkey and “continues the struggle for the liberation of its historic territories.”
Akar pointed out that the heads of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, the United States and Turkey, had failed during the years of negotiation processes to contribute to settling the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, accusing the latter of trying to expand the area of lands they had seized instead of withdrawing their forces from them.
He continued that “Baku’s patience has run out and the Azerbaijani army has moved to launch a counter-attack, which is currently continuing with success,” noting that “some occupied lands have just been cleared of Armenian forces.”
Akar expressed his conviction that Baku will not sign any peace agreement and will not agree to a ceasefire until after Armenia withdraws its forces from the territory of Azerbaijan.
He also stressed that “the Azerbaijani army is very professional and works within the framework of international law … while Armenia is bombing, in the eyes of all the international community, the towns and cities of Azerbaijan, which leads to the killing of innocent civilians.”
Turkey is considered a main supporter of Azerbaijan in its conflict with the forces of the Karabakh Republic, which was unilaterally declared in 1991, and its ally Armenia.
On September 27, armed clashes erupted on the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the Karabakh region and its adjacent areas, in the most dangerous escalation between the two parties in more than 20 years, amid mutual accusations of starting hostilities and bringing in foreign militants.