By Sefa Sahin and Nilay Kar Onum
ANKARA (AA) – Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Sunday remembered the victims of Khojaly Massacre, which took place in 1992 in Azerbaijan’s now-occupied region of Karabakh during the war with Armenia.
On his Twitter account, Ibrahim Kalin wrote: “I commemorate our martyrs on the anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre, in which 613 of our innocent Azerbaijani brothers were slaughtered by the Armenian forces in Upper Karabakh in the evening of Feb. 25-26, 1992.”
In his tweet, Kalin added that Turkey would always stand by Azerbaijan.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey also condemned the Khojaly Massacre in a statement released on the 26th anniversary of the incident.
"Turkey commiserates deeply with the Azeri brothers and sisters over this violent attack and massacre, which they suffered exactly 26 years ago today in Khojaly and shares their pain wholeheartedly,” the statement said.
"We vehemently condemn these massacres carried out by the troops of the Republic of Armenia as well as the continued occupation of the Azerbaijani territories for years," it added.
Calling on the international community to assign the necessary importance this massacre, the foreign affairs committee added:
"We, hereby, reiterate our call for the perpetrators of this act to be brought to justice per international law and for Armenia to withdraw as soon as possible from the Azerbaijani territories it has occupied."
The committee also conveyed condolences to all the people of Azerbaijan.
The massacre of Feb. 25-26, 1992, is regarded as one of the bloodiest and most controversial incidents of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of the now-occupied Upper Karabakh region.
On the heels of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in Karabakh on Feb. 26, 1992, after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks, assisted by an infantry regiment.
When the massacre happened, the population of the town was more than 11,000.
The two-hour offensive killed 613 Azeri citizens, including 116 women and 63 children, and also critically injured 487 others, according to Azerbaijani figures; 150 of the 1,275 Azerbaijanis that the Armenians captured during the massacre remain missing to this day.