By Sarp Ozer
ANKARA (AA) - Some western politicians’ claims against the Azerbaijani army that they “destroyed” Karabakh is a great mistake, according to the Turkish defense minister on Saturday.
“These unrealistic statements are completely false evaluations. The Azerbaijani army did not do anything there against the international law,” Hulusi Akar said during his visit to the Turkish engine maker TUSAS premises in the capital Ankara.
Akar said the Azerbaijani army just liberated their own lands which had been under three-decade long occupation by Armenia.
He warned that everybody should know it and avoid making such claims and blaming the Azerbaijani army.
“Accusing the Azerbaijani army of ‘destroying’ is really great negligence, a great mistake,” Akar said, adding that liberating its lands under occupation is a “sacred duty” for a country.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
New clashes erupted Sept. 27 and the Armenian army continued attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating humanitarian cease-fire agreements for 44 days.
Baku liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from Armenian occupation during this time.
On Nov. 10, the two countries signed a Russia-brokered agreement to end fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
The truce is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan, and a defeat for Armenia.
- Turkish soldiers to be deployed in Azerbaijan 'soon'
Akar noted that the resolution to send Turkish soldiers to Azerbaijan as part of a deal reached with Russia has been approved.
“Our preparations are completed. As a requirement of this resolution, Turkish soldiers will start their duty in Azerbaijan as soon as possible,” he added.
On Tuesday, Turkey's parliament approved the deployment of Turkish troops in Azerbaijan for a year.
Turkey and Russia have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a joint Turkish-Russian center to monitor the Karabakh peace deal.
* Contributions and writing by Sena Guler.