The international community should speak up on the issue of the Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani territory of Upper Karabakh, Turkey’s vice president said on Monday.
Decrying recent statements by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Turkey’s Fuat Oktay said: “I would like to stress that it is clear that such demagogic statements will not contribute to negotiations [over Karabakh] and the international community should not remain silent on this.”
Oktay, on an official visit to Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, stressed that Turkey has acted in close cooperation with Azerbaijan for a quarter of a century to end the occupation of about one-fifth of the territory of Azerbaijan.
“We see this as our national issue as much as it is for Azerbaijan,” he told the Turkey-Azerbaijan Business Forum.
Upper Karabakh is internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan illegally occupied by Armenia through military aggression since 1991.
The Armenian occupation of the historical Azerbaijani lands led Turkey — which sides with Baku in the conflict — to close its frontier with Armenia.
Oktay said Turkey was the first country to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan, which it regained in 1991, calling it a result of the “eternal fellowship.”
He also stressed that the spirit of brotherhood between the two countries grows stronger every day through collaboration, concrete projects, and high-level visits based on strategic vision.
“Today, Azerbaijan and Turkey are each other’s most important political partners, leading trading partners, and investors,” he said.
A half-dozen UN resolutions as well as decisions by many other international organizations demand the withdrawal of the occupying Armenian forces from Upper Karabakh and seven other occupied regions of Azerbaijan.