Azerbaijan capable of protecting its lands thanks to Turkey for its 30-year support: Ambassador
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
Baku is grateful for Turkey’s support given over a military confrontation between Azerbaijan and Armenia near Nagorno-Karabakh, its ambassador to Ankara, Khazar Ibrahim, has said, noting that the Azerbaijani military is now capable of defending its territory, mainly thanks to the support given by Turkey throughout the past three decades, and did not ask for military support for the recent clashes.
“When one of your family members have a difficult situation, if your brother or sister is next to you, that is enough. That is what we see from Turkey. That gives us all the power we want, be it moral or be in any sense. We are grateful to our brotherly Turkey,” Ibrahim has told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview.
Asked about the terms of Turkey’s support to Baku over the recent clashes between Armenian occupation forces and the Azerbaijani military, the ambassador first welcomed backing expressed by the politicians and the Turkish nation.
Noting that Ankara has been supportive of defense of Azerbaijan for many years, Ibrahim said at the moment, Baku has not asked for any military support for its confrontation with Armenia since the clashes erupted on Sunday.
“Also, we are cooperating with Turkey on defense, trade, and the economy for a long time that already made our armed forces very strong and capable. We did not request anything right now, but we know Turkey is with us with all its capabilities,” he stated. “We can liberate our territory ourselves.”
When asked about Armenian claims that Turkey provided arms and sent fighters to Azerbaijan, the ambassador recalled that his country has been in cooperation with Ankara for the past 30 years, and the Azerbaijani army is capable of protecting its territory thanks to the capacity achieved mostly due to the reinforcement of Turkey.
“We have been cooperating with Turkey since the re-establishment of our republic in 1991. Of course, our armed forces are well prepared, mostly due to the support we got from Turkey in 30 years. But right now, our military forces are stronger than the illegal occupying forces of Armenia. So, we can liberate our territory ourselves,” he stated.
Elaborating on the Armenian claim that a Turkish F-16 shot down an Armenian warplane, he said it is a propaganda to show others who are involved in the conflicts, noting that Armenians had previously made similar allegations before.
Asked if there are any Turkish aircraft supporting the Azerbaijani military, the ambassador said, “No, absolutely not, it is only Azerbaijani armed forces and our air force, and within our air force there are no F-16s.”
Three reasons behind successive tensions with Armenia
Elaborating on successive tension between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the past few months, Ibrahim pointed at three reasons for escalation tension in the region. But Yerevan sees that Azerbaijan is getting stronger in many senses, such as militarily and economically.
Secondly, Armenia has seen, particularly during the COVID-19 period, a lot of socio-economic challenges, he said, citing unrest among Armenian citizens and demonstrations during the term of the current government.
Therefore, Armenia wants to deviate its public attention through conflict with Azerbaijan and consolidate its society against an “external alleged threat,” the ambassador stated.
“On July 12, they attacked our positions, not within the illegally occupied lands, it took part further to the border of Georgia, directly toward Armenian and Azerbaijan border,” Ibrahim said and drew attention to oil and gas pipelines in the region.
The ambassador emphasized that Armenia targeted the borderline with Azerbaijan near Georgia, and then called on its allies seeking the help of others in a bid to internationalize the conflict.
Asked about the possibility of lingering military confrontation between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the latter’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, the ambassador said Baku was determined to respond until the “last Armenian soldier leaves the occupied lands of Azerbaijan.”
“We avoid further clashes,” the ambassador said, adding that his country is determined to “liberate” occupied Azerbaijani lands.
“The situation right now is that there are Armenian troops on Azerbaijani lands. Armenian troops are attacking our positions from the occupied territories. Now we are responding and counterattacking them from our internationally recognized borders. We will continue as much as we can,” he said.
“We do hope that Armenian leadership will turn from their irrational position and entirely leave our lands until the last Armenian soldier,” Ibrahim added.