In the previous week, the Turkish public was struck by the allegations of using Syrian jihadists and Turkish F-16 fighters, in the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Turkey has been historically and culturally tied with Azerbaijan with the simple definition of “one nation, two countries.
Turkey also did not hesitate to show its support for Azerbaijan in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
This has caused some circles to spread the rumors of Turkey, sending Syrian Islamist fighters to Azerbaijan, or the rumor that one of the Turkish F-16 jets, has shot down an Armenian Su-24 fighter over Armenia proper.
FALSE ACCUSATIONS ON TURKISH FIGHTER JETS
Turkey and Azerbaijan have simultaneously rejected the claim from the Armenian Ministry of Defense, that a Turkish F-16 fighter jet has shot down an Armenian Su-25 jet over Armenia proper.
Shushan Stepanyan, the Press Secretary of the Minister of Defense of Armenia, made the claim in a Facebook post on September 29th 2020. The statement said that a Turkish F-16 had been covering Azerbaijani air operations at the time and that the Armenian pilot has “died heroically.”
Armenian officials have said that the involvement of the Turkish forces, including a fighter jet, into the conflict could trigger a much broader response, including the use of the country’s Russian-supplied Iskander-E quasi-ballistic missiles against Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani authorities have quickly responded, by saying that no Armenian jet had been shot down at all, and that the incident was merely a provocation.
“The Armenian claim is false” said Fahrettin Altun, a senior aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Other Turkish officials further tagged the claim as a “cheap propaganda stunt” as well.
While there is no evidence to support these claims so far, it is sure that such a provocation for other regional actors, such as Russia, to more actively enter the fray, would end up in disaster for all countries in the region.
SIMILAR FALSE ACCUSATIONS ON THE USE OF SYRIAN FIGHTERS
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been at odds with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over issues ranging from Syria to Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean, has said that Ankara was acting in a “warlike” manner on Wednesday, and then accused Turkey of sending Syrian jihadists to fight in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on Thursday.
Macron told reporters at an EU summit in Brussels that “We now have information which indicates that Syrian fighters from jihadist groups have (transited) through Gaziantep (southeastern Turkey) to reach the Nagorno-Karabakh theatre of operations. It is a very serious new fact, which changes the situation”.
Armenia’s ambassador to Moscow has also said on Monday that Turkey had sent about 4,000 fighters from northern Syria to Azerbaijan to fight, which was denied by an aide to the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and the Turkish government.
“Rumours of militants from Syria allegedly being redeployed to Azerbaijan is another provocation by the Armenian side and complete nonsense,” said the aide, Khikmet Gadzhiev.
Macron’s office said in a statement he had discussed the issue, as part of efforts to reach a ceasefire with the Russian President Vladimir Putin during a telephone call.
It also added that “They also shared their concern regarding the sending of Syrian mercenaries by Turkey to Nagorno-Karabakh.”.
Neither Macron, nor the French presidency has provided no such evidence to support these accusations about the mercenaries, and the Kremlin did not mention about any accusations.
CONFLICT IN KARABAKH CONTINUES
Armenian forces have launched a missile attack on the Khizi and Absheron Regions of Azerbaijan on Sunday, according to a senior presidential official.
Fighting had begun on September 27th, when Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions, leading to casualties.
Hikmet Hajiyev, the assistant to the president and foreign policy chief for Azerbaijan’s presidency, said on Twitter that Armenian forces launched two 300-kilometer mid-range missiles on the regions.
Earlier, Hajiyev announced that Mingachevir, an industrial city in Azerbaijan, had also been targeted by Armenian missile strikes.
On the other hand, President Ilham Aliyev has greeted the people of Azerbaijan with the news of the liberation of the city of Jabrayil from Armenian occupation on Sunday, and gave several conditions to cease the military actions, including the withdrawal of Armenian troops from occupied territories.
In his address to the nation, Aliyev said that an end to these conflicts would only occur when Armenian forces retreat from Azerbaijani territories, and the country’s full territorial integrity is recognized.
He also asked the Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, to apologize to the Azerbaijani people and declare that Karabakh is an inseparable part of Azerbaijan.
Aliyev said Sarkissian should also reveal the date of the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories.
He promised to rebuild all of the cities that were liberated and restoring all mosques that were damaged by Armenian forces.
Aliyev recalled that in response to, Armenia stating that they would not return the land.
He said that “In this current situation, the sole responsibility lies with the Yerevan administration. At the same time, some countries that ignore this issue and always support Armenia are also responsible.”.
On Sunday, Turkey said that the members of the PKK/YPG terrorist organization, which is collaborating with the Armenian terrorists in Upper Karabakh, should immediately leave the region.
Turkish Defense Ministry Spokeswoman Nadide Sebnem Aktop has told reporters in the capital Ankara that “PKK/YPG terrorists collaborating with Armenian terrorists who target innocent civilians must leave the region immediately, otherwise, as always, they will be once again disappointed.’’.
She stressed once again, that Turkey would continue to stand with its brotherly country Azerbaijan as always.
Meanwhile, harsh condemnations for Armenian attacks on Azerbaijani civilians, came from all political parties in Turkey, with their support for Azerbaijan.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the main opposition party, has said on Twitter that: “I strongly condemn Armenia’s vicious attack on Azerbaijan’s city of Ganja, targeting innocent civilians by violating international law.”.
Kilicdaroglu also added that he stood with Azerbaijan in its “just cause.”
Leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli, has said that Yerevan’s attacks on innocent civilians, is a crime against humanity, in a written statement.
He later added that “Armenia is the only anti-peace and anti-stability [side] in the southern Caucasus. Now, the international community should not remain silent towards the bloody attacks on civilians.”.
He also added that it was now a “historical necessity” that Azerbaijan should be joined with its southwestern exclave, the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, which is surrounded by Armenia, Iran and Turkey.
“As a result of this unification, one voice, one breath, one heart will fight against the oppressor and the enemy,” he said.
Leader of the Patriotic Party Dogu Perincek has also made his comments on the importance of defending Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.
“The land of Azerbaijan is the homeland for the Turks. It is our original homeland. Yerevan is attacking our own homeland and defending it is again our noble cause, as the entire Turkish State and the Turkish Nation. Defending Azerbaijan’s lands is synonymous to defending the Turkish homeland and this constitutes our main strategies for homeland defense.”
Mustafa Sentop, the Speaker to the Turkish Parliament, has also shown his attitude by tweeting condemnation about the Armenian shelling in Ganja.
“The attack in Azerbaijan’s historical city of Ganja is the latest example of Armenia’s unlawful and occupant attitude. I condemn this attack towards civilians, I wish success to the Azerbaijani army that is fighting for their country heroically.”
He also added that occupied Karabakh, belongs to Azerbaijan.
Lastly, Sentop criticized the OSCE Minsk Group -a group co-chaired by France, Russia and the US- which he said “hesitates to find a fair solution for Armenia’s occupation in Azerbaijani territories,” for its silence on the attack.
While small losses and gains are achieved by both Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is unlikely for this long-term conflict to be permanently resolved, without a regional mechanism including Russia, Iran and Turkey.
And without their cooperation, it seems like this conflict can escalate into a much devastating war between the countries of the region.