By Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) – Armenia’s attack on civilians in Azerbaijan’s Barda region is a “flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” the Turkic Council said on Wednesday.
“The international community should take the responsibility to intercede with the Armenian authorities to stop the war crimes that Armenia continues to commit,” read a statement issued by the council.
It came after at least 21 civilians were killed and nearly 70 others injured in missile attacks by Armenian forces on the city center of Barda.
The council stressed the need for the conflict to be settled “on the basis of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan.”
“We call on the Armenian side to comply with the related resolutions of the UN Security Council adopted in 1993, which demand an immediate, unconditional and full withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from all the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan,” the statement added.
The Turkish Council, or the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, was established in 2009 as an international intergovernmental organization, with the overarching aim of promoting comprehensive cooperation among Turkic-speaking states.
The council consists of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan as member states and Hungary as an observer state.
- Nearly 3-decade occupation
Since clashes erupted on Sept. 27, Armenia has repeatedly attacked Azerbaijani civilians and forces, even violating three humanitarian cease-fire agreements since Oct. 10.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Four UN Security Council resolutions and two from the UN General Assembly, as well as international organizations, demand the "immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces" from occupied Azerbaijani territory.
About 20% of Azerbaijan's territory – including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions – has been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed to in 1994.
World powers, including Russia, France, and the US have called for a sustainable cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku's right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia's occupying forces.