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Turkey’s interference may protract Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, says expert

The analyst predicted that the armed confrontation will last longer than in 2016, when it went on for four days

MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. The armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenian and Azeri forces can draw further on due to Turkey’s active involvement on Baku’s side, Vladimir Yevseyev, head of the Caucasus department of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) Institute, told TASS Monday.

"Turkey’s influence on Azerbaijan has grown, which will instigate the conflict. I suppose that Moscow will have to talk to Ankara rather than Baku to settle the conflict if needed because it will be very hard to stop armed hostilities given this level of Turkish interference," he noted.

The expert emphasized that the scale of this escalation already surpassed that during the April 2016 confrontation between the parties. He recalled that four years ago Azeri forces shelled only Nagorno-Karabakh’s town of Martakert, whereas now under attack came a number of towns, including Stepanakert (the capital of the unrecognized republic), which forced its residents to hide in shelters. "This has happened for the first time since the active fighting stopped back in 1994," Yevseyev said. "It hasn’t been observed since."

In conclusion, the expert predicted that the armed confrontation will last longer than in 2016, when it went on for four days.

Nagorno-Karabakh escalation

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, when Azerbaijan said its positions had come under extensive fire from Armenia. Armenia, in turn, said the Azerbaijani army had staged an offensive in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh. It said a number of settlements in Nagorno-Karabakh, including its administrative center Stepanakert, had come under shelling by Azerbaijan. Both sides report casualties, including among civilians. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have imposed martial law. Mobilization of reservists has been announced in Armenia. Azerbaijan has announced partial mobilization.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.