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Erdogan says Turkey has right to take part in Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan EPA-EFE/TOLGA BOZOGLU
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

ANKARA, October 23. /TASS/. Ankara has the same right as Moscow to take part in the process of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

"Turkey has the same right to take part in the peace process on Karabakh as Russia. Azerbaijan’s demand is quite fair. Once Armenia invites Russia [to take part in the peace settlement], Azerbaijan suggests Turkey should also join it. I have heard no negative reaction from Russia [on that matter]," Erdogan said.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.

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.