Russian border guard shot at Turkish shepherd who crossed into Armenian border
The 35-year-old shepherd, Mustafa Ülker, crossed over to the Armenian side of the border to retrieve a lost sheep and was shot dead. AA photoA Turkish shepherd who crossed the border into Armenia opened fire at Russian frontier guards, who responded by returning the fire, Sergey Grechin, from the Russian Border Department of the Federal Security Service, has said, according to the Russian Itar Tass news agency.
“It was a Russian border guard unit that was involved in the incident,” a senior official in the Armenian Foreign Ministry confirmed, along with a second source in the Armenian Defense Ministry.
Russian troops protect Armenia’s borders with Turkey and Iran, in compliance with the agreement concluded between Moscow and Yerevan in 1992.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry had sent a diplomatic note to Yerevan condemning Armenia for using “disproportionate force” after the incident.
The note, sent through Turkey’s embassy in Tbilisi as Ankara has no diplomatic ties with Armenia, explained how and why the Turkish national had illegally crossed into Armenia, and demanded an explanation for why “disproportionate force” was used to kill him.
The 35-year-old shepherd, Mustafa Ülker, crossed over to the Armenian side of the border to retrieve a lost sheep and was shot dead by Armenian soldiers patrolling the border, Kars Governor Eyüp Tepe said on Aug. 1.
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan, after Armenia occupied Azerbaijani lands in the Nagorno-Karabakh War.
“We strongly condemn the shooting of an innocent citizen for a simple border infringement apparently made very innocently,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in its statement on Aug. 1. It also called on Armenia to act with restraint to avoid another tragic incident similar to the death of the shepherd.
Armenia used disproportionate force by killing an unarmed civilian while ignoring the fact that such a crossing did not pose any threat to the national security of the country, said the statement.
The ministry statement also said that all necessary diplomatic steps would be taken, and the incident yet again highlighted the need for common sense in Armenia’s relations with neighbors for normalization and sustainable peace in the volatile region.
“This sort of development shows the need for a complete, sustainable and comprehensive normalization process in the South Caucasus region,” the statement read.