02:45 GMT01 November 2020
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    Nagorno-Karabakh: Flare-Up Between Armenia, Azerbaijan (90)
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    Armenia's capital Yerevan declared martial law and a mobilisation of its military on Sunday morning after clashes broke out between Armenian and Azeri forces in the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh, home to a decades-long conflict between the two Caucasus nations.

    Ankara condemns “Armenia’s attack on Azerbaijan” and stands in “full solidarity” with Baku, the Azerbaijani capital, Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced in a tweet.

    “Armenia has once again violated international law and shown that it has no interest in peace and stability. Turkey stands in full solidarity with Azerbaijan and unreservedly supports its right to self-defense,” the spokesman wrote.

    Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s press service confirmed to Sputnik on Sunday that Erdogan had telephoned Aliyev to express Turkey’s support for Baku.

    “The president of Turkey expressed his condolences to the Azerbaijani head of state and the people of Azerbaijan in connection with the deaths of civilians and servicemen as a result of the military provocation by Armenia. Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that Turkey, as always, supports Azerbaijan. Expressing gratitude for the condolences, [Aliyev] expressed his deep appreciation for the Turkish President’s continued support in the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the press service said in a statement.

    Azerbaijan’s defence ministry announced on Sunday morning that Armenian forces had begun massed shelling of Azerbaijani positions near the disputed self-governing, Armenian-controlled region of Nagorno-Karabakh, causing civilian casualties and injuries.

    The Armenian government dismissed the allegations, claiming that it was the Azerbaijani military which had launched an offensive in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh, and subjected the region, including the city of Stepanakert, to air, missile and artillery attacks.

    Earlier on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed the situation, with Moscow saying that the two sides had emphasised the need for a speedy ceasefire and the situation to be stabilised along the contact line.

    In a separate statement, Russia’s foreign ministry called on both sides “to immediately cease fire” and begin negotiations.

    The Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), whose membership includes Armenia, called for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group was the platform by which peace should be resolved. CSTO spokesman Vladimir Zainetdinov told Sputnik that Yerevan has not asked the alliance for assistance in the present crisis.

    The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh began in February 1988, when, at the height of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika political and economic reforms, a rise in regional nationalist sentiments prompted the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region to announce its secession from the Azerbaijani republic within the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan’s parliament abolished the autonomous status of the region in late 1991, prompting the majority Armenian population of the region to declare complete independence. Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent territories in fighting with Armenian forces between 1992 and 1994. The war led to the displacement of more than 1 million Azerbaijanis and Armenians, both within the disputed region and other parts of both countries, and the death of more than 42,000 soldiers, militia forces and civilians from both sides. Turkey provided support to the Azerbaijani side during the war.

    Map of Nagorno-Karabakh
    © Wikipedia / Aivazovsky
    Map of Nagorno-Karabakh

    The dispute has since become a stand-off with occasional flare-ups of violence and the Nagorno-Karabakh remaining under de facto control of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh, a breakaway state not recognised by any member of the United Nations, but which maintains unofficial diplomatic offices in Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Australia, Lebanon and Germany.

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    Nagorno-Karabakh: Flare-Up Between Armenia, Azerbaijan (90)

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