The Armenian Foreign Ministry said that through its “direct presence on the ground” Ankara is seeking to help Azerbaijan end the Karabakh conflict by force.
“Turkish military specialists are fighting side by side with Azerbaijan, using Turkish-manufactured weapons, including UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and warplanes,” the ministry charged in a statement.
“According to credible sources, Turkey is recruiting and transporting foreign terrorist fighters to Azerbaijan,” it said, referring to recent reports, including by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, about the recruitment of pro-Turkish Syrian rebels mostly affiliated with jihadi groups. Azerbaijan has denied those reports.
“The situation on the ground clearly indicates that the people of Artsakh (Karabakh) are fighting against the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance. Turkey, which a century ago annihilated the Armenian people in their historical homeland and still justifies that crime, now supports Azerbaijan by all possible means to carry out the same genocidal acts in the South Caucasus,” added the statement.
Ara Harutiunian, Karabakh’s president, likewise claimed on Sunday that Turkish F-16 fighter jets, helicopters and attack drones are attacking military and civilian targets in Karabakh.
In recent months Ankara has stepped up its long-standing support for Azerbaijan in the Karabakh conflict. It promised greater military assistance to Baku following last July’s deadly skirmishes on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.
Turkish and Azerbaijani troops held joint exercises in various parts of Azerbaijan in August. The drills featured Turkish F-16 jets and combat helicopters.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again blamed Armenia for the heavy fighting in Karabakh, which broke out on Sunday, and demanded an end to “Armenian occupation” of the disputed territory later on Monday.
“The time has come for the crisis in the region that started with the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh to be put to an end,” he said in a speech.
Erdogan also lambasted the United States, Russia and France for failing to broker a solution to the Karabakh after more than two decades of Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks mediated by them. “Now Azerbaijan must take matters into its own hands,” he said.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry expressed confidence that the Azerbaijani “aggression” will end in failure.
Yerevan says that the unusually deadly clashes in Karabakh resulted from a large-scale Azerbaijani offensive. Baku maintains, however, that its army went on a “counteroffensive” in response to Armenian shelling of Azerbaijani villages located close to the “line of contact.”