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France’s Macron Deplores Turkey’s ‘Dangerous’ Rhetoric On Karabakh


LITHUANIA -- French President Emmanuel Macron gives a speech as he is granted an honorary doctorate of the University in Vilnius, September 29, 2020

French President Emmanuel Macron criticized on Wednesday Turkey’s “warlike” statements on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying that they are encouraging Azerbaijan to continue hostilities in the conflict zone.

“I have noted Turkey’s political declarations [in favor of Azerbaijan] which I think are inconsiderate and dangerous,” Macron told a news conference in Latvia.

“France remains extremely concerned by the warlike messages Turkey had in the last hours, which essentially remove any of Azerbaijan’s inhibitions in reconquering Nagorno-Karabakh. And that we won’t accept,” he said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Macron also said he will discuss the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday evening and with U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday. The French leader spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev by phone earlier this week.

Ankara rejected the criticism and accused France of siding with Armenia in the Karabakh conflict. “France’s solidarity with Armenia is tantamount to supporting Armenian occupation in Azerbaijan,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying.

Turkey -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov (L) and Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov in Ankara, August 11, 2020.
Turkey -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov (L) and Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov in Ankara, August 11, 2020.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip has blamed Armenia for the latest escalation and voiced strong support for Azerbaijan’s military operations in Karabakh. Successive Turkish governments have unconditionally backed Azerbaijan throughout the conflict.

Macron also said that Paris has no proof at this stage of direct Turkish involvement in the large-scale fighting along the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh which broke out on Sunday.

Armenia accuses the Turks of participating in the continuing hostilities on the Azerbaijani side with fighter jets, combat drones, military instructors and even pro-Turkish Islamist fighters recruited in Syria. It says that the Turkish involvement is destabilizing the entire region.

NAGORNO-KARABAKH -- Servicemen of Karabakh's Defence Army wave while riding in the back of a truck on the way to the town of Martakert, September 29, 2020.
NAGORNO-KARABAKH -- Servicemen of Karabakh's Defence Army wave while riding in the back of a truck on the way to the town of Martakert, September 29, 2020.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry insisted on Wednesday that one of the Turkish F-16 jets shot down an Armenian warplane in Armenia’s airspace on Tuesday. It said that this and other Turkish warplanes deployed in Azerbaijan in early August “have been providing air support” to Azerbaijani army units fighting in Karabakh.

“We strongly condemn Turkey’s provocative actions and demand the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish armed forces, including the air force, from the conflict zone,” the ministry added in a statement.

Ankara denies downing the Armenian Su-25 aircraft. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry has also dismissed the Armenian claims.

The Armenian Defense Ministry expressed on Wednesday readiness to provide the international community with evidence in support of the claims.

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