YEREVAN, September 28. /TASS/. Armenia’s Foreign Ministry has information that the Turkish authorities are recruiting mercenaries in the Middle East to be deployed in the conflict zone in Nagorno-Karabakh, the ministry’s spokeswoman, Anna Nagdalyan, said on Monday.
"Turkish instructors are fighting along with the Azerbaijanis [in Nagorno-Karabakh - TASS]. They use Turkish weapons, including drones and aircraft. We also have information that Turkey is recruiting terrorists and mercenaries in some of the Middle Eastern countries and is sending them to Azerbaijan," she said.
"As a matter of fact, two countries - Turkey and Azerbaijan - are currently fighting against Artsakh (the non-recognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic)," she said.
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.
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.