BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 P.M.) – Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that Azerbaijan ‘liberated’ the Karabakh region with contributions from his country’s weapons systems.
The state-owned Anadolu Agency quoted Akar as saying: “Azerbaijan liberated Karabakh from the (Armenian) occupation in 44 days with the help of our local weapons systems.”
Earlier, Akar said that the Turkish army will soon begin joint work with Russian forces to monitor the ceasefire agreement in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The Turkish agency quoted Akar as further saying: “A joint center between Turkey and Russia is being established in Karabakh in the near future, where our soldiers will start working there with the Russians.”
The ceasefire declaration stipulates that Armenian and Azerbaijani forces will stop at their current positions, and Russian peacekeepers will be deployed along the line of contact in Karabakh and the corridor connecting the Armenian lands and Karabakh.
The agreement also includes lifting restrictions on movement, transit and the exchange of prisoners between the two parties to the conflict, and the return of the displaced to Karabakh, under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The roots of the Karabakh conflict can be traced back to February of 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous District declared its secession from the Azerbaijan SSR.
In the context of the armed confrontation that took place between 1992 and 1994, Azerbaijan lost its control over Nagorny Karabakh and other adjacent areas.