ANKARA, November 9. /TASS/. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Russian leader Vladimir Putin to create a joint working group to resolve the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, CNN Turk reported on Monday, citing Turkish diplomatic sources.
According to the TV channel, the Turkish president put forward the initiative during his telephone conversation with Putin on November 7. Efforts in this direction may begin in the coming days, CNN Turk said, adding that a negotiating platform outside the OSCE Minsk Group could emerge. In addition, CNN Turk reported that Azerbaijan would stop its offensive "after a victory in Shusha" and then talks would begin, while Armenia, in turn, "would gradually leave seven districts."
Ankara has not officially commented on the report yet. TASS has so far received no official comments from the Russian authorities.
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians. Baku and Yerevan made ceasefire agreements three times but hostilities continue.
The conflict over 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.