As fresh clashes erupted between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in a resumption of decadesold hostilities linked to Karabakh, Türkiye underlines the need for peace and cooperation, emphasizing that Yerevan should halt its aggression
Armenia should cease provocations and instead focus on peace negotiations and cooperation with Azerbaijan, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday amid renewed conflict between the two ex-Soviet countries.
Speaking with his counterpart Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov in a phone call, Çavuşoğlu underlined the need for cooperation as the two ministers discussed recent Armenian provocations.
Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to a cease-fire early on Monday to halt a flare-up in hostilities over the Karabakh region, but it fell apart minutes later, Azerbaijani media said.
A cease-fire agreement came into force at 9 a.m. local time (5 a.m. GMT), according to media reports and a source, who asked not to be named. But Azerbaijani media reported that it was broken soon after.
Tensions flared overnight in the latest escalation of decades-old hostilities between the two countries in the south Caucasus over control of the region.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry accused Armenia of “large-scale subversive acts” near the districts of Dashkesan, Kelbajar and Lachin on the border, adding that its army positions “came under fire, including from trench mortars.”
“There are losses among (Azerbaijani) servicemen,” it said, without giving figures.
On the other side, Armenia and Russia on Tuesday agreed on joint steps to stabilize the situation along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan after deadly overnight clashes, officials in Yerevan said.
Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan and Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu “held a phone conversation to discuss Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia’s sovereign territory,” the Defense Ministry in Yerevan said, adding that the two “agreed to take necessary steps to stabilize the situation.”
Armenia said Tuesday that at least 49 of its troops were killed in border clashes with Azerbaijan, the worst fighting between the arch foes since their 2020 war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“For the moment, we have 49 (troops) killed and unfortunately it’s not the final figure,” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told parliament.
In addition, Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) spokesperson Ömer Çelik issued a statement on his social media account regarding the conflicts on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border.
“Armenia must end provocations and aggression. Peace is for the benefit of all. Today, those who provoke Armenia into conflict have interests. Armenia must respect Azerbaijan’s legitimate rights and interests,” he said.
During EU-mediated talks in Brussels in May and April, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian agreed to “advance discussions” on a future peace treaty.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military illegally occupied Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
Clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, with the Armenian Army attacking civilians and Azerbaijani forces, violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and around 300 settlements and villages that had been occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.
The fighting ended with a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10, 2020, which was seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia.
However, the cease-fire has been broken several times since then.
In January 2021, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a pact to develop economic ties and infrastructure to benefit the entire region. It also included the establishment of a trilateral working group in Karabakh.
After the conflict ended, Azerbaijan launched a massive reconstruction initiative in the liberated Karabakh region.
In July, Azerbaijan began the process of returning its people to land recaptured from Armenian forces in what Baku calls “The Great Return.” The oil-rich country has vowed to repopulate the recaptured lands.