Turkey’s ruling party spokesman called on countries Tuesday not to apply a double standard in favor of Armenia regarding its recent clashes with Azerbaijan and a cease-fire agreement.
“The ceasefire calls of those who do not raise their voices against Armenia, which is a rogue state, is to put the cruel and the suffering in the same equation, to view the occupying and the occupied [state] equally,” Omer Celik, spokesman for the Justice and Development (AK) Party, said during a meeting of the Central Decision and Executive Board at party headquarters in the capital Ankara.
“This is also a clear violation of the law,” he added, underlining that this attitude shows a double standard.
He stressed that the Minsk Group tries to manage the process by considering Armenia and Azerbaijan on equal levels, but there are no two equals in this issue.
“The party that clearly violates international law, including the 1949 Geneva Convention, is the Armenian side,” he said.
“Armenia attacked the Azerbaijani army and civilians like a rogue state,” he said, reiterating that Turkey stands with Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani people in every step they take to defend their territories against Armenia’s aggression.
Reminding that Azerbaijan wants Turkey to be at the negotiation table, he said those who really want the conflict to be resolved must also want Turkey to be involved in talks to find a solution and Turkey is ready for this.
Following meetings in Moscow on Oct. 10, Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed on a humanitarian cease-fire so that the conflicting sides could retrieve bodies left on the battlefield in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, or Upper Karabakh, and conduct a prisoner exchange.
Clashes broke out on Sept. 27 when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region, leading to casualties.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.
Some 20% of Azerbaijan's territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation for around three decades.
Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions as well as many international organizations demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
The 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, however, was agreed to in 1994.
Many world powers including Russia, France and the US have called for a new cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku's right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia's occupying forces.
‘Nothing to achieve through bullying, imposition’
Touching on recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Celik said Turkey always views the negotiation table as the best option but will fight in an uncompromising way in the field against those who do not want negotiations.
“There is nothing to achieve here through bullying and imposition. Greece needs to understand this," he added.
He reiterated that Turkey wants resolve all issues in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean through diplomacy but always has an answer for those who want to use diplomacy for breathing room and to exploit it to create an organization there against Turkey.
Renewed efforts of the Oruc Reis seismic research vessel in the Eastern Mediterranean will be within the Turkish continental shelf hundreds of kilometers away from the Greek mainland, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.
It urged Greece to withdraw its maximalist demands, end military drills that escalate regional tensions and establish sincere dialogue through exploratory talks.
In August, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal, spurning Turkey's goodwill gesture in halting its search.
Declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal "null and void," Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis to continue activities in an area within Turkey's continental shelf.
Turkey has consistently opposed Greece's efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Ankara has also said that energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot administration of southern Cyprus.
Turkey’s Operation Claw continuing successfully
Celik also touched on Turkey’s anti-terror Claw operations and said those who carried out terrorist attacks against Turkey’s security forces and citizens are infiltrating the country from the lands of neighboring states.
The center of gravity of these operations are the Sinat-Haftanin, Avasin-Basyan and Hakurk regions in Iraq he said, adding "We are fighting strongly to eliminate the threats of those positioned here against our country and our security forces.”
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG/PYD is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
*Writing by Havva Kara AydinAnadolu 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.