Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reaffirmed his country’s unconditional support for Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh during an official visit to Baku on Friday.
“As Turkey’s prime minister and a representative of the Turkish people, I declare that Turkey will stand by Azerbaijan until the liberation of every square centimeter of Azerbaijani territory,” Davutoglu said after talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
“I want to reassure you that even the slightest pain caused to Azerbaijan is a blow to Turkey’s heart,” he told the press, according to Azerbaijani news agencies. “We see no difference between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Serving Azerbaijan means serving Turkey and vice versa.”
Davutoglu also said that Ankara will continue to boost military ties with Baku. “Defense industry is a special strategic sector for Turkey and Azerbaijan. Turkey and Azerbaijan intend to implement a number of joint projects in this sphere as well,” he said.
Davutoglu spoke amid fresh exercises held by the Azerbaijani military. Turkish soldiers and warplanes are due to also take part in them in the coming days.
The Turkish premier’s remarks are a further indication that Ankara will continue making the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations conditional on a resolution of the Karabakh conflict acceptable to Baku. Armenia has repeatedly rejected this linkage, arguing that Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements signed in 2009 make no reference to Karabakh.