Turkey condemns Armenian attacks on Karabakh
Foreign Ministry calls for Armenia to 'stick to ceasefire'
Turkey's Foreign Ministry has condemned Armenian attacks which have led to two days of fighting over the occupied Karabakh region.
"We condemn artillery fire and attacks which were started by Armenia against Azerbaijan on the night of April 1 along the contact line and [which] affected civil society," the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
"We call upon Armenia to stick to the ceasefire and end to the clashes as soon as possible," the ministry added.
The ministry said there was a risk of similar clashes unless the Armenian occupation ends.
Azerbaijani state news agency Azertac quoted President Ilham Aliyev as saying: "Armenia carried out another provocation on the line of contact and attacked the positions of Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan’s armed forces repulsed the attack and the opposite side received an appropriate response.”
However, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan claimed in a National Security Assembly gathering that 18 Armenian soldiers had died and 35 had been injured. Azerbaijan had said that six Armenian tanks and 15 cannons were destroyed and more than 100 Armenian soldiers killed or injured.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman-in-Office and Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed concern over the clashes in Karabakh.
In a statement, Steinmeier called upon both sides to “end hostilities immediately and to respect the ceasefire in full”.
Azerbaijan reclaimed land occupied by Armenia during the clashes over Friday and Saturday which saw 12 Azerbaijani soldiers martyred.
Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said that its army had launched operations in the Agdere, Terter, Agdam, Hocavend and Fuzuli regions to protect civilian lives.
During the operation the Azerbaijani army reclaimed some strategic hills and residential zones.
Pro-Armenian militia occupied the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan in 1993.
Three UN Security Council Resolutions (853, 874 and 884), and United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 19/13 and 57/298 refer to Karabakh as being part of Azerbaijan. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe refers to the region as being occupied by Armenian forces.
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