Turkey to provide support if Azerbaijan requests it: Çavuşoğlu
Speaking in an interview with Turkey's state-run news agency on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in his remarks: "Azerbaijan has the ability to liberate its occupied lands by itself; but if Azeri side requests support from Ankara, Turkey will do what is necessary ."
Azerbaijan has the ability to liberate its occupied lands by itself, Turkey's top diplomat said Wednesday, amid Azerbaijan fighting off an offensive by Armenian forces in occupied Upper Karabakh.
"Azerbaijan is fighting to protect its own lands. Where in the world are the occupied and occupier treated the same?" Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at Anadolu Agency's Editors' Desk.
Turkey will "do what is necessary" if Azerbaijan requests support from Ankara, Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said on Wednesday after being asked in an interview whether Turkey would provide military support.
Border clashes broke out early Sunday when Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions, leading to multiple casualties.
With these attacks, Armenia ignored the international system and international law, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that this attitude deserves a response.
Turkey continues to support Azerbaijan, he added, saying: "We said that if Azerbaijan wants to solve [the Armenian occupying problem] on the ground, we will stand by Azerbaijan."
Following Armenia's border violations and attacks in occupied Upper Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan's parliament declared a state of war in some areas.
Azerbaijan declared a partial military mobilization on Monday.
UPPER KARABAKH CONFLICT
Relations between the two former Soviet nations have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
The OSCE Minsk Group-co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US-was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed on in 1994.
France, Russia, and NATO, among others, have called for an immediate halt to clashes in the occupied region.
Turning to developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Çavuşoğlu reiterated Turkey's proposal for a regional conference to find a solution.
"We have no designs on the rights of others, but neither will we let our own rights be usurped," he said.
Referring to US State Secretary Mike Pompeo's visit last week to the Greek Cypriot administration, and the US partially lifting an arms embargo from the Greek Cypriots, Çavuşoğlu said: "The US should not violate its neutrality. It's not right for them to lift the embargo, even if it is limited. This violates its neutrality."
Çavuşoğlu said there was a "positive atmosphere" for discussions on the Eastern Mediterranean as Greece agreed to restart exploratory talks with Turkey.
Tensions have recently escalated over energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration, and other EU members have tried to block Turkey's energy exploration, claiming it is searching in Greek waters, using a maximalist view of Athens' maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.
Turkey-the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean-says this view is illegal and makes no sense and has sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have rights in the region.
Ankara has repeatedly urged negotiations with no preconditions to reach a fair sharing of the region's resources.