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Erdogan Seeks Russian-Turkish Push For Karabakh Peace


NAGORNO KARABAKH -- An Armenian soldier fires artillery on the front line on October 25, 2020.

Turkey and Russia should jointly push for a quick resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, commenting on his latest phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We held good talks with Putin [late on Tuesday.] We discussed Karabakh in detail,” Erdogan told the Turkish parliament in remarks cited by the TASS news agency.

“We said: let’s finish all this in the Caucasus. If you want, we will jointly take steps, talk to the parties,” he said.

Erdogan said he specifically proposed that he and Putin talk to the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia respectively. “Let delegations meet. I’m sure that we will get a result,” he added.

According to the Kremlin’s readout of the call, Putin voiced serious concern about the continuing hostilities in and around Karabakh and what he called a growing involvement of “terrorists from the Middle East” in them.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that the two presidents did not discuss a possible Turkish involvement in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. He reiterated that Turkey, which fully supports Azerbaijan in the conflict, cannot become a mediator without Armenia’s consent.

Armenia has always ruled out any Turkish mediation. It maintains that Turkey is directly involved in the Karabakh war by providing weapons, Turkish military personnel and Middle Eastern mercenaries to Azerbaijan. Ankara denies that.

Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks have long been mediated by Russia, France and the United States, the three co-chairs of the Minsk Group.

American, French and Russian diplomats are expected to meet again with the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Geneva on Thursday. They said at the weekend that they are planning to discuss not only a new ceasefire regime in the conflict zone but also a Karabakh settlement proposed by the three mediating nations.

Erdogan again hit out at the Minsk Group co-chairs on Wednesday, saying that they have for years “stalled for time, rather than solved the problem.”

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