The phone call came amid Moscow’s calls for the conflicting parties to respect a Russian-mediated ceasefire agreement reached by the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers on Saturday.
A short statement by the Russian Defense Ministry said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar discussed “stabilization of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.” It gave no details.
According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, Akar told Shoigu that Armenian forces must immediately be removed from Azerbaijan’s “occupied lands.” Turkey supports the Azerbaijani offensive to retake those lands, the ministry said in a statement cited by Reuters.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indicated on Monday that the Russian Defense Ministry is also involved in efforts to halt the hostilities that are continuing despite the humanitarian truce agreement brokered by Moscow.
Lavrov discussed those efforts with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in a phone call on Sunday. He said he told Cavusoglu that Moscow expects Ankara to support the implementation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement.
A senior advisor to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian charged earlier in the day that the Turks are “pressuring” Azerbaijan to continue military operations in Karabakh and thus torpedo Russian mediation efforts.
For his part, Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian reiterated Armenian claims about Turkey’s direct involvement in the hostilities and recruitment of Syrian mercenaries and their deployment to Azerbaijan.
Both Ankara and Baku deny the presence of Syrian Islamist militants in the Azerbaijani army ranks. They also maintain that Turkish military personnel are not participating in the Karabakh war.