UPDATES WITH CONDEMNATIONS
By Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey on Sunday condemned the Armenian attack on Azerbaijani settlements near the country's western border.
“We strongly condemn the Armenian attack, which is a clear violation of international law and caused civilian casualties,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Border clashes broke out earlier in the day after Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements, and military positions. The number of casualties is not yet known.
Armenia has once again proved 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.
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 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 the attacks have once again shown that it does not recognize 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,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Turkey will stand by Azerbaijani people by all means to protect its territorial integrity, he added.
Earlier in July, Armenian cease-fire violations martyred 12 Azerbaijani troops and wounded four others.
Relations between the two former Soviet nations have been tense since 1991 when Armenian military occupied the Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh region, 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 occupational 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.