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Erdogan Says Karabakh Ceasefire Hinges on ‘Armenians’ Withdrawal’

Ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan have been waging battles against Azerbaijani forces since Sunday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that a ceasefire in Nagorno Karabakh was only possible if Armenian-backed forces withdrew from the separatist region and the rest of Azerbaijan.

“The way for a lasting ceasefire in this region depends on Armenians’ withdrawal from every span of Azerbaijani territory,” Erdogan said in a televised address.

Ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan have been waging battles against Azerbaijani forces since Sunday that have claimed more than 100 lives.

Turkey fully supports Muslim-majority Azerbaijan in the standoff but denies Armenian claims that it is providing military support to Baku.

Photo of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karaback.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked for decades in a territorial dispute over Karabakh. Photo: Armenian Defense Ministry/AFP

Erdogan spoke moments before the presidents of Russia, the United States, and France jointly called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” — the worst since a war in the early 1990s killed 30,000 and left the region under separatist control.

But Erdogan said the three powers, which have been trying to resolve the conflict through so-called “Minsk Group” talks, had failed in their mission to find a lasting solution and had no right to demand a truce.

“Because America, Russia and France, called the Minsk Group, have neglected this problem for nearly 30 years, their quest now for a ceasefire is not acceptable.”

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