Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu

Turkey Warns Armenia against ‘New Provocations’

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By Armen Koloyan

ANKARA (RFE/RL) — Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu has called on Armenia to “refrain from new provocations” several days after Yerevan and Baku traded accusations over an escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh that left at least three people dead.

Speaking at a gathering of Turkish diplomats in Ankara on Monday, August 8, Çavusoglu reportedly also reiterated his country’s vision of peace in the South Caucasus region.

“After the end of the war [in Karabakh], Turkey is making efforts to ensure peace in the region. Now we are talking not about Azerbaijan’s occupied territories, displaced people, refugees and a conflict that can start again at any moment, but about regional peace and cooperation. We again call on Armenia to refrain from participating in new provocations [against Azerbaijan in Karabakh],” Çavusoglu said.

On August 3, ethnic Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said that two Armenian soldiers were killed and nearly two dozen others wounded in what they described as an attack by Azerbaijani forces against their military positions along the Lachin corridor conducted with the use of drones, mortars and grenade launchers.

Baku, for its part, said that an operation codenamed “Retribution” was launched by its forces after one Azerbaijani soldier was killed by Armenian forces in the area on August 1.

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Azerbaijan also claimed to have captured some strategic heights in the mountainous region overlooking the corridor linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia that has been controlled by Russian peacekeepers since the end of a deadly 2020 war in which Baku managed to regain control of large swaths of territories in and around the disputed region.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian leader Arayik Harutyunyan ordered a “partial mobilization” of army reservists in the wake of the incidents, but the situation did not further escalate amid reported agreements that Armenians would be leaving several villages along the Lachin corridor that are to be handed over to Azerbaijan as part of the 2020 Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement.

Turkey, which is Azerbaijan’s top military and political ally, has been engaged in a normalization process with Armenia since late last year. Ankara, however, has made it clear that establishing diplomatic relations and opening borders with Armenia depends on Yerevan’s accepting Baku’s key demands. Commenting on prospects for normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations in July, Turkish Foreign Minister Çavusoglu said that Yerevan should specifically negotiate a peace agreement sought by Baku and open a land corridor to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave.

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