Armenian Foreign Minister accuses Turkey of sending foreign fighters to Azerbaijan

CAIRO — In a press conference in Cairo with the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, accused Turkish authorities of transporting foreign fighters to neighboring Azerbaijan.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a decades long dispute over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. From 1988 to 1994, a war was fought between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan. By the wars end, Armenian was in full control of the territory with few exceptions, including areas of Azerbaijan outside Nagorno-Karabakh connecting the enclave with Armenia.

Tensions between the two sides even predate the 1988 conflict, with violence occurring between them while they were both republics under Soviet rule.

In July of this year, clashes erupted after an Azerbaijani patrol attempted to cross the border and were met with fire from Armenian forces. Artillery and drone strikes were exchanged between the two sides for days, resulting in over a dozen casualties.

Mnatsakanyan’s accusations came in response to the threat of the Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister, Yavuz Selim Kiran, in which he called on Armenia to withdraw immediately from the Karabakh region, accusing it of escalating tension and representing the biggest obstacle to the stability and security of the region.

Earlier, Turkey had sent ground and air forces to the Azerbaijani capital of Baku to conduct joint military training with Azerbaijani forces on the Armenian border.