Armenia brought and weaponized terrorist groups to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, including the PKK and the so-called Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, or ASALA, Azerbaijan's envoy to Turkey told Anadolu Agency.
The PKK is responsible for some 40,000 deaths – including women, children, and infants – in its decades-long terror campaign, while ASALA is responsible for the murder of dozens of Turkish diplomats in targeted terrorist assassinations.
"They [Armenia] adopted a new national security strategy which specifically indicated that they want to occupy new territories of Azerbaijan," Ambassador Khazar Ibrahim said in an interview amid the weekend eruption of violence along the Armenia-Azerbaijan frontier.
Border clashes broke out early Sunday when Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions, leading to casualties.
Noting the recent Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan this July, when Armenian forces attacked the northwestern border province of Tovuz – an Azerbaijani territory some distance from the illegally occupied Upper Karabakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and seven other regions – Ibrahim said this time, Armenia started its provocations right from the occupied territories.
This July, Armenian cease-fire violations martyred 12 Azerbaijani troops and wounded four others. Clashes in the region flared up again on Sept. 21 when an Azerbaijani soldier was martyred, and another was injured.
Clashes in the region flared up again on Sept. 21 when an Azerbaijani soldier was martyred, and another injured.
"And we know that within the last several months, Armenia started a volunteer program gathering the people, providing them with training, including women."
The diplomat warned that his country will not tolerate such provocations, and will respond in force.
"The provocation by the Armenian Armed Forces was answered overwhelmingly, and already the Azerbaijani Armed Forces liberated seven occupied villages of Azerbaijan in Fuzuli and Jabrail," he said.
Attacks on civilians
Ibrahim stressed that the Armenian Armed Forces together with the terrorist groups they cooperate with "do not shy away" from deliberately attacking civilians.
He said that this time the Azerbaijani side again suffered casualties and losses among both servicemen and civilians.
In a statement, Azerbaijan’s attorney general said that several servicemen were martyred and wounded in clashes, adding that total of 19 civilians were injured so far.
In a written statement, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry assured that the Azerbaijani army is not targeting civilians, unlike the Armenian side.
‘1 nation, 2 states'
Hailing the Turkish government and nation’s "unwavering" support for the "just position of Azerbaijan” – as the two are like “one nation, two states” –Ibrahim said: "As always, Turkey stands by Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan stands by Turkey."
He said the Azerbaijani and Turkish leaders spoke on the phone today, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again stressed the countries’ brotherly relations and very clearly stated that Armenia was the occupying force.
Armenia's latest violations along the border with Azerbaijan in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh show that it poses the greatest threat to regional peace, Erdogan said.
"We highly appreciate this brotherly and also very important, very just position of the Turkish government, the Turkish political forces, and the Turkish people," Ibrahim said, adding that what Armenia is doing is against humanitarian law and humanistic ideals, and is basically challenging peace and security in the region and globally.
Ibrahim underlined that the Azerbaijani people are "very much mobilized and gathered" around their commander-in-chief, President Ilham Aliyev.
"And it was clear several months ago, it was clear all these years, it's clear today too. So everybody officially, or unofficially, is mobilized."
He emphasized that Azerbaijanis from all across the country have family members who are now serving on the front line.
"And, again, we have both political and I would say spiritual unanimity and unity within Azerbaijani society," he said.
On Sunday, in an extraordinary meeting, the Azerbaijani parliament declared a state of war in some of its cities and regions following Armenia’s border violations and attacks in occupied Upper Karabakh. Under the decision, a curfew may also be declared at certain times in some regions.
The ambassador also warned that the Armenian leadership should understand that their actions and provocations against Azerbaijan "will never remain unanswered."
"And they should first think at least about their own people that whatever they are doing, and whatever response they're getting, ultimately it will be their people who will suffer from that.”
Saying he sees Armenia’s attempts to distract from domestic woes, he urged: “Therefore they should put the interests of the people first instead of provoking these actions which are intended both to calm down probably internal calamities they have, or whatever other plans and strategies they try to imply."
Call on international community
Ibrahim called on all nations around the globe – regardless of where they are located – to follow and act in line with international law.
"The international community should demand those who violate international law, who go against the norms or principles of international law, who unlawfully illegally militarily occupy territories and violate internationally recognized borders of other countries, call them to justice, demand the fulfillment of these norms and principles, and demand the fulfillment of UN Security Council resolutions."
He said if the international community fails to do so, then the consequences could include – citing the situation Azerbaijan is facing – having more than 1 million refugees and internally displaced persons for almost three decades, people who were ethnically cleansed, and even genocide.
"If you have things like this and you tolerate it, other regions, other places are not immune from that," Ibrahim warned.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions as well as decisions by many international organizations refer to this fact and demand that Armenia’s occupying forces withdraw from Upper Karabakh and seven other occupied regions of Azerbaijan.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail.
A cease-fire along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border was declared in 1994.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.