Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish Parliament he opposes any involvement from the U.S., Russia, or France in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Reuters reports.
Erdogan’s speech came within hours of a joint statement released on behalf of President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Russian President Vladimir Putin which called for an immediate ceasefire in the fight between Armenia and Azerbaijan, according to Reuters. The three powers are the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created in 1992 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to encourage a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
The statement calls for an immediate end to the violence and a resumption of negotiations between leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The latest round of fighting, which began last weekend, has seen dozens killed and hundreds wounded so far, per Reuters. Four journalists, two French and two Armenian, were injured by the fighting on Thursday.
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 1, 2020
Erdogan said to Turkish Parliament that peace could only be achieved if “Armenian occupiers” withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh, Reuters reports. He also rejected any attempts by the co-chairs of the Minsk Group to mediate the conflict, saying “Given that the USA, Russia and France have neglected this problem for nearly 30 years, it is unacceptable that they are involved in a search for a ceasefire.”
The conflict over the mountainous border region extends back decades, and the current fighting is the bloodiest since a full-blown war in the early 1990’s, per Reuters. The Nagorno-Karabakh territory is recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan, but is run independently by ethnic Armenians. It is unclear as of now which side started the latest round of fighting. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Trump Administration Halts WWF Grant Funding For Financing Alleged Human Rights Violations)
Regional and global powers have gotten more and more involved in recent days, starting when Turkey pledged full support to the Azeris. The Turks were later accused of sending rebel fighters from Syria to join the conflict and of shooting down an Armenian fighter jet in Armenian airspace, allegations they deny. Turkey is a member of NATO and is therefore considered an ally of the U.S. and France. Meanwhile, the Armenians have a defense pact with Russia, and have not ruled out invoking it if necessary.