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Erdoğan: Karabakh is in Azerbaijan’s legally recognized borders

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The region of Karabakh is located within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated on Saturday amid renewed clashes between neighbors Baku and Yerevan.

Speaking to journalists about the recent escalation, Erdoğan said: “Azerbaijan naturally does not want any illegal armed elements on its territory.”

“We talked about these in detail with my brother Ilham (Aliyev) two days ago. First of all, we condemn the attack that caused the death of one of our Azerbaijani brothers,” he said.

Regarding the attack on the Azerbaijani Embassy in London, Erdoğan said it was “unacceptable,” adding: “We hope the incident will be investigated and perpetrators will be punished.”

The embassy building in London was stormed by the Mahdi Servants Union, a Shiite Muslim organization based in London, according to U.K. media reports. Eight people were arrested after police reached the area.

“Nearly two years have passed since the trilateral statement. It is important for Armenia to fulfill its commitments here as soon as possible,” Erdoğan added.

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 and 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.

President Ilham Aliyev had for years promised to recapture lands lost in the 1990s and the first returns marked a symbolic moment for Azerbaijan.

Renewed skirmishes

Following renewed skirmishes between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Karabakh earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called similarly on the leaders of both countries to seek “direct dialogue” to resolve the conflict.

Blinken held separate phone calls with Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Friday, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Several deaths and injuries were reported when fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh flared up again on Wednesday.

The Azerbaijani army said it had captured mountainous areas of the region and that Armenian fighters had been killed.

Azerbaijani FM visits Turkey

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov will pay a visit to Turkey on Aug. 8-9, 2022, upon the invitation of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to participate in the 13th Ambassadors Conference.

During his visit, Bayramov will address the Ambassadors Conference.

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