On Wednesday, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Ankara would not hesitate to send troops to support Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh if requested. Oktay added that at the moment, no such request had been made.
Since clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 27th, Turkey has been outspoken in its support for Baku. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly called for Armenia to end its “occupation” of Azeri territory.
Turkey has been supporting Baku militarily through weapons sales. Turkish arms exports surged just before the fighting began. Sales rose from $278,880 in July to $36 million in August and jumped to $77 million in September.
Turkey has been accused of sending mercenaries from northern Syria to help Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. Although both Ankara and Baku deny it, multiple media outlets spoke with sources who detailed being recruited by a Turkish security company to fight in the South Caucasus. Ankara also has a history of sending mercenaries from Syria to conflict zones in Libya.
Despite two attempted ceasefires, fighting continues to rage in Nagorno-Karabakh, with over 900 people reported killed. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Wednesday that he sees no diplomatic solution to the clashes in the near future. Baku is demanding Armenia cede all territory within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan in exchange for peace.
Foreign ministers from Azerbaijan and Armenia are expected to meet separately with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Friday. Last week, Pompeo criticized Turkey’s support of Azerbaijan and its role in fueling the conflict.