Turkey's president on Wednesday announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) setting up a joint Turkish-Russian center to monitor the Karabakh peace deal, which has ended weeks of armed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
"Turkey will join the peacekeeping forces in the [Karabakh] region to monitor the implementation of the deal with Russia," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a parliamentary group meeting of his party in the capital Ankara.
The joint center, which will be established on Azerbaijani territories that were liberated from Armenia's occupation, was signed this morning, Erdogan added.
"All measures in preventing violations of the cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh will be taken by this center," he explained.
He went on to say that with this deal, 28 years of occupation on Azerbaijani lands and Karabakh officially comes to an end.
"As Turkey and the Turkish nation, every day for 28 years we felt the pain of the occupation in our hearts, together with our Azerbaijani brothers."
The Turkish leader stressed that with the agreement reached, the areas in Azerbaijan that have yet to be liberated, including the remaining parts of Karabakh, will be left to Azerbaijan.
"Turkey is ready to do whatever is needed for region's peace, security and confidence," Erdogan said.
Referring to an article of Tuesday's Russia-brokered peace deal, he said: "A road will be constructed to connect Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan Autonomous Region."
He said that likewise, a transport corridor would also be opened between Armenia and Khankendi.
Erdogan underlined that Azerbaijanis displaced with the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, will return to their homes under the supervision of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
"In the conflict that started again with Armenia's attack on Azerbaijani lands, we stood by our Azerbaijani brothers with all our heart and resources, and contributed to the process to end this occupation," he said.
The Turkish president also congratulated Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and the Azerbaijani people over the liberation of territories under Armenia's occupation.
"The joy and pride of our Azerbaijani brothers is our pride," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey would continue to be in closer and stronger cooperation with Azerbaijan and that both states would build a "common future" together.
Following the meeting, Erdogan underlined that the Turkish observation and inspection staff stationed at the joint center in Nagorno-Karabakh would act in the same capacities as the Russians.
"Right now, Russia started to settle in some points. The talks will be held between the foreign ministers [of Russia and Turkey]. A crew from Russia will come here, talks [on Karabakh] will be held here."
Conflict, peace deal
Relations between the ex-Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
Fresh clashes erupted on Sept. 27, and the Armenian army continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating humanitarian cease-fire agreements, for 44 days.
At the frontline, Baku liberated several cities and nearly 300 of its settlements and villages from Armenian occupation during this time.
On Nov. 10, Baku and Yerevan signed a Russia-brokered agreement to end fighting, and work towards a comprehensive solution.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev hailed the agreement as a victory for his country and a defeat for Armenia, saying Baku's military success enabled it to gain an upper hand to end the three-decade occupation of its territory.
The Turkish leadership also welcomed the truce, describing it as a "great victory" for Azerbaijan.
On the other hand, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said he had signed an "unspeakably painful" deal that allowed Azerbaijan to claim control over the regions it took back in the fighting.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.