By Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey will continue to stand by Azerbaijan in its legitimate homeland defense, the country's parliament speaker said on Wednesday.
"Turkey, as it was before, will continue to stand by Azerbaijan in its legitimate cause according to historical realities and international laws," Mustafa Sentop told lawmakers.
Saying that relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan are based on the "two states, one nation" principle, Sentop added: "I strongly condemn once again the [Armenian] attacks on civilians [in Upper Karabakh region]."
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.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, and since then Armenia has repeatedly attacked Azerbaijani civilians and forces, even violating three humanitarian cease-fires since Oct. 10.
Multiple UN resolutions demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
- Peace in East Med
Sentop said Turkey has always backed permanent peace in the Eastern Mediterranean.
"With our belief in justice and law, we want to resolve the crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean through diplomacy," he said.
Tensions recently escalated regarding the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece has disputed Turkey's energy exploration, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.