Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has defended the Azerbaijani military operation in the South Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh to Armenians), saying in his address to the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that Armenia had not made effective use of the negotiation process.
“It is now widely recognised that Karabakh rightfully belongs to Azerbaijan. Any attempt to impose a different status will not be accepted”, Erdoğan stressed. He underlined Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan’s actions in this regard, stating: “We stand by Azerbaijan, with which we share the motto of ‘one nation, two states’, in the protection of its territorial integrity”.
The Azerbaijani armed forces launched operations in Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday, using high-precision weapons along the front lines and deeper into the region, according to reports from the Ministry of Defence in Baku.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the new operation was in response to “long-standing armed attacks and provocations” against Azerbaijani forces in the region.
“In view of the legitimate and justified concerns that Azerbaijan has repeatedly expressed over the past three years since the end of the Second Karabakh War, Azerbaijan has found it necessary to take measures on its own sovereign territory,” the statement read.
Turkey had previously supplied Azerbaijan with combat drones and other military equipment, helping Baku retake parts of the breakaway region during a brief but intense conflict in 2020 known as the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, which unfolded within the contested confines of Nagorno-Karabakh and its neighbouring territories.
Azerbaijani forces have imposed a blockade on approximately 120,000 ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh since 12 December last year, months before its recent military offensives. The blockade restricts movement along the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia. Turkey had also stood firm in disregarding pleas for the reinstatement of the Lachin Corridor.