Turkey’s parliament approved a motion on Tuesday to allow soldiers to be deployed as peacekeepers to monitor the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire. The mandate grants Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan permission to deploy soldiers for up to one year to a joint Turkish-Russian monitoring center in Azerbaijan.
Under the deal signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, Azerbaijan is allowed to keep territory it gained control of in Nagorno-Karabakh during fighting that started on September 27th. Russia is deploying 2,000 peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh to ensure the truce is upheld.
Diplomats from the US, France, and Russia will hold talks on Wednesday over the ceasefire. “Tomorrow, we will have a meeting in Moscow with the envoys related to the dossier to lift the ambiguities surrounding the ceasefire,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday.
Le Drian said the “ambiguities” are over issues related to returning refugees, future negotiations over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, returning fighters, and the presence of Turkey. Moscow has previously said the Turkish role will be limited to the monitoring center in Azerbaijan, and no Turkish soldiers would be deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Ankara was outspoken in its support for Azerbaijan throughout the conflict, calling for Armenia to end its “occupation” of Nagorno-Karabakh. The support for Azerbaijan and Turkey’s history with Armenians makes the issue of Turkish soldiers being deployed to an ethnic Armenian enclave a sensitive one.
Armenia’s government has faced enormous pressure from Armenians for agreeing to cede territory to Azerbaijan. On Monday, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan resigned from his post due to the pressure. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has been facing calls to step down.