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Erdogan says Turkey stands by ‘oppressed’ in the Caucasus

File Photo: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Talks To The Media After Attending Friday Prayers In Istanbul, Turkey
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey supports the “oppressed” in the Caucasus, where Ankara has backed Azerbaijan in its week of fierce fighting against ethnic Armenian forces in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

“We strive day and night for our country to take its deserved place in the global world order. We stand by the oppressed everywhere from Syria to Libya, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Caucasus,” he said.

Turkey rejected “superficial” demands for a ceasefire on Saturday. While Russia, the United States and France have called for an end to hostilities, regional power Turkey has staunchly supported the Azeris and has repeated that what it called Armenian “occupiers” must withdraw.

Armenia said on Friday it would work with the three big powers toward a ceasefire. But Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said they should have no role in peacemaking and on Saturday said Ankara backs the “oppressed” in the South Caucasus.

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, told Italian newspaper La Stampa that Russia could play an intermediating role in a ceasefire “only if it is neutral”.

“Superficial demands for an immediate end to hostilities and a permanent ceasefire will not be useful this time,” he was quoted as saying by Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency.

Moscow has a defence pact with Armenia, but also good relations with Azerbaijan.

Nagorno-Karabakh, where ethnic Armenians are the vast majority, said on Saturday that 51 more service personnel had been killed in the war with Azerbaijan, a sharp rise in the death toll from a week of fierce fighting.

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