Civilians flee bombs in Stepanakert

European Parliament Condemns Turkey’s Role in Karabakh War


BRUSSELS (RFE/RL) — The European Parliament has strongly condemned Turkey’s “destabilizing role” in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, accused Ankara of sending “terrorist fighters” to the conflict zone and called for an end to Turkish military aid to Azerbaijan on January 22.

In two resolutions adopted this week, the European Union’s legislative body also welcomed the Russian-brokered ceasefire that stopped the Armenian-Azerbaijani war on November 10. But it cautioned that the conflict remains unresolved.

One of the resolutions calls for a Karabakh settlement based on the Basic Principles, a framework peace accord that has long been jointly advanced by the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group: the United States, Russia and France. It stresses the “urgent need” to ensure “the security of the Armenian population and its cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Turkey provided full diplomatic and military support to Azerbaijan during the six-week war. Turkish combat drones heavily used by the Azerbaijani army are believed to have been a key factor behind Baku’s military victory. According to Western media reports, Ankara also recruited thousands of jihadist fighters from the Middle East to fight on Azerbaijan’s side.

The European Parliament resolution “strongly condemns the destabilizing role of Turkey which further undermines the fragile stability in the whole of the South Caucasus region.” It says the Turks should “refrain from any interference in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, including offering military support to Azerbaijan.”

The resolution also deplores “the transfer of foreign terrorist fighters by Turkey from Syria and elsewhere to Nagorno-Karabakh, as confirmed by international actors, including the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries.”

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France has been especially vocal in its condemnation of that transfer. Its Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reiterated last month French calls for “the departure of the Syrian mercenaries” from the conflict zone.

Turkey has denied sending members of Turkish-backed Syrian rebel groups to Karabakh. Azerbaijan also denies the presence of such mercenaries in the Azerbaijani army ranks.

Armenia hailed the European Parliament resolutions on Friday. The Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Anna Naghdalyan, praised, among other things, the EU’s legislature’s calls for an agreement on Karabakh’s future status to be “founded on the [Minsk] group’s Basic Principles.” Naghdalyan said it thus voiced support for the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination.

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