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Turkey Says Ready To Send Troops To Azerbaijan


Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay, November 23, 2019

Turkey will not hesitate to send troops to Azerbaijan if such a request is made by Baku, Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay said late on Wednesday amid continuing hostilities in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.

Oktay added that Baku has not yet asked Ankara for such military assistance.

“Our president [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] has made that clear from the outset,” he told CNN Turk. “Azerbaijan and Turkey have agreements on military cooperation. If Armenia takes unexpected steps and there is a request from Baku to send troops Turkey will not hesitate.”

Oktay also stood by Erdogan’s strong criticism of the United States, Russia and France and allegations that the three nations leading the OSCE Minsk Group support Armenia politically and militarily. A senior Russian parliamentarian rejected the allegations on Sunday.

Another Russian pro-government lawmaker, Alexei Pushkov, was quick to react to Oktay’s remarks.

Commenting on the possibility of official Turkish military intervention in the Karabakh conflict, Pushkov warned: “That would expand and internationalize the conflict and preclude a peaceful scenario. Not to mention the revival of ghosts of the past.”

Armenia says that Turkey is already directly involved in the war over Karabakh, having provided 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 that broke out on September 27. Ankara rebuffed such calls earlier this month.

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