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Azerbaijan has not requested assistance in Nagorno-Karabakh, but Turkey will help if asked – FM Cavusoglu

Ankara has not received any formal requests for assistance from Azerbaijan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists at a joint press conference with Italy’s top diplomat, Luigi di Maio. Baku is currently locked in an armed standoff with Yerevan following a recently flare-up of a prolonged conflict between the two neighbors.

Ankara, which earlier pledged military and diplomatic support to Azerbaijan in repelling what it called “Armenian aggression,” still maintains that Baku is capable of securing its interests on its own. However, Cavusoglu also said that “if the situation is not resolved” and Azerbaijan does ask for assistance, Turkey “would not hesitate” to provide it “no matter what others say.”

The Turkish foreign minister also said that the Turks and Azerbaijani are “one nation” living in two states. He also stated that Armenia’s “withdrawal” from what he called “occupied territories” is the only solution for the conflict and the necessary precondition for Azerbaijan to agree to a ceasefire.

If the international community wants to “do something,” it must encourage Yerevan to pull its troops out of Nagorno-Karabakh, the minister said while castigating the OSCE Minsk Group, which includes Russia, the US, and France, for “doing nothing” to resolve the decades-old frozen conflict between the two neighbors.

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the joint call for peace issued by Moscow, Washington, and Paris as unacceptable, and said the “time to act” has come.

The outbreak of violence occurred last Sunday and both sides have been engaged in intense fighting ever since. Armenia has repeatedly accused Turkey of aiding Azerbaijani military efforts by coordinating its airstrikes and even deploying Turkish military aircraft to the conflict zone. Ankara has denied the accusations and maintained that its forces are not taking part in the conflict.

French President Emmanuel Macron has meanwhile said that France has “credible” information indicating that Syrian militants arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh through Turkey. Earlier, Russia also voiced similar concerns.

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