Turkey, Russia to set up joint center to watch Nagorno-Karabakh peace
Turkey and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on Nov. 11 to set up a joint center to observe and inspect a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, expressing his hope for a similar outcome of an Ankara-Moscow cooperation for the ongoing conflict in Syria.
“Turkey will take part with Russia in the joint peace force that will be set up in the implementation, observation and inspection of the agreement. A memorandum of understanding for the formation of the Joint Turkish-Russian Center with the objective of the control and inspection of the ceasefire,” Erdoğan told his parliamentary group on Nov. 11.
“This center will be set up on the lands Azerbaijan has liberated from occupation. All the measures for the prevention of the ceasefire violations will be taken by this center,” Erdoğan also said, underlining this agreement legally and physically ends the 28-year-long Armenian occupation of the Azerbaijani lands.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have agreed to end the six-week armed conflict with the mediation of Russia that stipulates the latter’s withdrawal of its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh and return to these lands to Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army has totally outcompeted the Armenian forces in the field, obligating Yerevan to sign the agreement that ends the armed conflict and therefore its occupation of these lands since the early 1990s.
“Turkey and Azerbaijan will continue their close relations and will build our joint future,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey, Russia discuss modalities
Turkey and Russia were in close contact in the last few days, with Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking over the phone two times since Sunday. The details of the center to be formed were discussed between the Turkish and Russian foreign and defense ministries.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, held a phone conversation early on Nov. 11 to finalize the memorandum of understanding. Further discussions on the modalities between the two armies will continue in the coming days.
Similar outcome for Syria
Citing Turkish-Russian dialogue for the accomplishment of the deal in Nagorno-Karabakh, Erdoğan said he was hoping that bilateral cooperation will yield a similar result in Syria as well.
“We are sincerely wishing to see the start of a peace and comfort era in Syria, just like in Karabakh. For this, the regime and terror organizations that ensanguined the Syrian lands should be eradicated,” he said.
Erdoğan said Turkey was genuinely ready to work with all the actors in Syria but particularly with Russia to this end.
“We, as Turkey, are ready to do our part and whatever necessary for planting peace, comfort, trust and prosperity in our region,” he said, adding, “Following the American elections, it is imperative that channels for diplomacy and reconciliation should be fully opened in order to end the [era of] uncertainties in our region.”