Erdogan Rebuffs US, Others over Nagorno-Karabakh
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the United States, Russia and France should be barred from involvement in efforts to halt new fighting over Azerbaijan’s contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. “Given that the USA, Russia and France have neglected this problem for nearly 30 years, it is unacceptable that they are involved in a search for a ceasefire,” Erdogan told the Turkish parliament in Ankara on Thursday. His comments came just before the three countries issued a joint statement on the fighting in and around the majority-Armenian enclave that broke out on Sunday, so far killing dozens and wounding hundreds. “We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the relevant military forces,” they said. The fighting has involved Azeri and Armenian military forces, as well as local militias. Erdogan said a lasting ceasefire could be achieved only if “Armenian occupiers” withdrew from Nagorno-Karabakh. With Russia holding a military base in majority-Christian Armenia, and Turkey being a close ally of primarily Muslim Azerbaijan, there is fear of a regional conflagration if a solution, or at the very least a cease-fire, is not found soon.