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Erdogan Slams Karabakh Mediators


TURKEY - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech as he arrives for a meeting at Permanent Representation of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels on March 9, 2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit out at the United States, Russia and France on Sunday, alleging that the three countries co-heading the OSCE Minsk Group are supplying weapons to Armenia.

Erdogan also reiterated his strong criticism of their long-running efforts to resolve Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and reaffirmed Turkey’s strong support for Azerbaijan’s military operations in the conflict zone.

“What are they saying about our support for our Azerbaijani brothers? What is the Minsk [Group] troika, the U.S., Russia and France, are saying? They are supporting Armenia. They are giving Armenia all kinds of assistance in the form of weapons,” Erdogan claimed during a rally organized by his AK Party.

He did not elaborate on his allegations.

A senior Russian lawmaker, Leonid Slutsky, rejected the allegations.

“Erdogan’s claims do not contribute to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the TASS news agency quoted Slutsky as saying. “Russia and the other Minsk Group co-chair countries do not support any party and are doing everything to stop the bloodshed.”

“One must now continue to look for politico-diplomatic ways of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and renounce aggressive rhetoric and mutual accusations,” added the chairman of the Russian State Duma’s committee on foreign relations.

Turkey itself has been accused by Armenia of being directly involved in the ongoing war by providing weapons and Turkish military personnel to Azerbaijan.

Yerevan has also accused Ankara of recruiting Islamist fighters in Syria and sending them to fight in Karabakh on the Azerbaijani side. These claims have been echoed by France and, implicitly, by Russia. The Turkish and Azerbaijani governments deny them.

The U.S., Russia and France have repeatedly called for an immediate end to the hostilities in and around Karabakh that broke out on September 27. Ankara rebuffed such calls earlier this month.

Slutsky also pointed out that Moscow hosted talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers and brokered an Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire agreement on October 10. The agreement must be fully implemented by both sides, he said.

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