An Armenian man holds a placard reading “Hands off Karabakh” during a rally in Yerevan on April 21, 2016. (AFP photo)
has strongly slammed the Turkish stance on the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, accusing it of seeking to ignite war in the disputed region.
“Statements made by Turkish leaders are totally unacceptable for one simple reason — they are calling not for peace but for war,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Friday.
Ankara promised to fully support its ally Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over the Karabakh since the eruption of the crisis on April 2 that claimed the lives of at least 110 people. A shaky Moscow-brokered ceasefire kicked off on April 5 and stopped the huge fighting but the two sides still continue to accuse one another of violating the truce.
“Unfortunately, we have already got accustomed to such quirks from the current Turkish leadership,” Lavrov said.
The new wave of unrest in Karabakh and surrounding areas in Azerbaijan have sparked concern about resumption of hostilities in the strategic region, which has been relatively calm since the end of a three-year war in 1994.
Fears are also high that the war could trigger a broader conflict in the Caucasus region between Russia and Turkey
whose bilateral relations are already strained since November 2015 when Turkey
downed the Russian Su-24 fighter jet over Syria.
Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan; however, it is governed by the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, a nation established on the basis of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.