ADDS MORE REMARKS
By Gozde Bayar, Erdogan Cagatay Zontur, and Muhammet Ikbal Arslan
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey on Sunday condemned Armenia’s attack on Azerbaijani settlements in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, reiterating its all-out support for Azerbaijan.
“We strongly condemn the Armenian attack, which is a clear violation of international law and [has] caused civilian casualties,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Thinking that it would benefit from the deadlock, Armenia again crossed the line, [but] this time got its response in the field. We are with our brother Azerbaijan on the field and in diplomacy,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said on Twitter.
Border clashes broke out earlier Sunday after Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions. The number of casualties is not yet known.
Armenia has once again proven that it is the biggest obstacle to peace and stability in the region, the statement said, adding that Turkey will stand with Azerbaijan by all means.
Baku has the right of self-defense to protect its people and territory, it said.
Relations between the two former Soviet nations 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 and two UN General Assembly resolutions as well as many international organizations demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
The 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.
- Cease-fire violated
Turkey's presidential spokesman also condemned the attack, and wished God's mercy upon the martyred.
“We strongly condemn Armenia's attack on Azerbaijan. By attacking civilian settlements, Armenia has violated the cease-fire [reached in 1994] and once again demonstrated that it is against peace and stability,” Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.
He called on the international community to immediately stop this “dangerous provocation.”
Omer Celik, spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, tweeted that Armenia has committed crimes against humanity.
He said Armenia threatens regional peace, and that its attacks have once again shown that it flouts international law.
"The biggest obstacle to peace and stability in the Caucasus is Armenia's aggressive attitude, and it must immediately cease this aggression that will set the region on fire,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Turkey will stand by the Azerbaijani people by all means to protect its territorial integrity, Akar added.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay also condemned the attack, saying Armenia has showed how it disregards international law and cease-fires.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci condemned the attack and conveyed solidarity “to the friendly and brotherly Azerbaijani people on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot people.”
"In terms of international law, the Armenian administration under the guise of independence in Upper Karabakh, which is an Azerbaijani territory, is not rightfully accepted by Azerbaijan,” Akinci said in a written statement.
Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said some powers are using Armenia to realize their own goals in the region.
"However, Azerbaijan is never alone, and those who encourage Armenia to attack will not achieve their dreams,” he wrote on Facebook.