Turkish FM holds phone talks with Russian, Azerbaijani counterparts
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held separate phone talks with his Russian and Azerbaijani counterparts on Oct.15 amid complaints voiced by Moscow that the two countries are not on the same page regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Çavuşoğlu discussed with Russia’s Sergey Lavrov the Upper Karabakh dispute as well as Armenia’s violation of the cease-fire and attacks on Azerbaijani civilians, state-run Anadolu Agency quoted anonymous diplomatic sources as saying. He also discussed the Upper Karabakh issue with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov, on the same day.
Talks came hours after three people were killed and five others injured when Armenian forces targeted civilians at a funeral in the city of Terter, western Azerbaijan.
Lavrov earlier said his country disagrees with Turkey over the ongoing conflict in the Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. “We do not agree with the position voiced by Turkey, that was also expressed several times by [Azerbaijani] President [İlham] Aliyev,” Lavrov said in an interview with local radio stations on Oct. 14.
A military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was “unacceptable,” he said, noting that Turkey needs to be “transparent” in its actions.
It would be right to deploy Russian military observers on the Karabakh line of contact, but it was up to Azerbaijan and Armenia to decide, Lavrov stated.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held their first phone conversation on Oct. 14 since the tension in the South Caucasus flared up in late September.
“Stating that Armenia, which caused a new crisis by attacking Azerbaijani lands, was trying to make its nearly 30-year-old occupation permanent, President Erdoğan noted that Turkey, within the framework of its status in the Minsk Group and of its bilateral relations, was in favor of a lasting solution to the issue,” read a brief statement issued by the Presidential Communications Directorate after the conversation.
Turkey and Russia are both members of the Minsk Group while the latter is also among three co-chairs along with France and the United States tasked to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem since the early 1990s.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan insists it has the right to reclaim its land by force after efforts by the so-called Minsk group of international mediators that comprises Russia, the United States and France failed to yield any progress. It has actively pushed for its ally Turkey to take a prominent role in future peace talks.
“What matters is for Turkey to be at this table. And it already is,” Aliyev said in an interview broadcast Oct. 14, pointing out that he discussed the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh with both the Russian and the Turkish presidents, and that Russia’s defense minister has recently talked about it to the Turkish defense minister.