Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar reiterated Ankara’s support for Azerbaijan on Monday, as the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh continues to fail. Since fighting broke out between Azeri and Armenian forces in the disputed enclave on September 27th, Turkey has been an outspoken supporter of Baku in the conflict.
In a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu, Akar said Turkey supports Azerbaijan’s “campaign to take back its own lands.” The defense minister also told Shoigu that Armenia needed to end its attacks and “withdraw from the occupied lands.”
Representatives from Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Moscow last Friday, where they agreed to a ceasefire after 10 hours of talks. The pause in fighting was set to take effect on Saturday but did not last long, and both sides continue to blame each other for violations.
The ceasefire was meant to lead to more substantive talks to resolve the conflict. The US, France, and Russia co-chair the Minsk Group which was set up in 1992 to foster negotiations over the disputed enclave. In Moscow, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to have the Minsk Group mediate further peace talks.
Turkey has previously rejected calls for a ceasefire from the Minsk Group, accusing the three countries of ignoring the conflict for decades. “Given that the USA, Russia and France have neglected this problem for nearly 30 years, it is unacceptable that they are involved in a search for a ceasefire,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on October 1st.
Akar echoed Erdogan’s statement on Monday. “Azerbaijan will not wait 30 more years for a solution,” he said.