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Erdogan: occupied Karabakh issue cannot be ignored

OguzTV: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday brought up the situation of occupied Karabakh two days after an Azerbaijani soldier was martyred in a border clash with Armenian forces.

Speaking at the Economic Cooperation Organisa­tion’s (ECO) 13th summit in Islamabad, Pakistan, Erdogan said 20 years of negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia had not resulted in a solution to the conflict.

“We, particularly, cannot ignore the Upper Karabakh issue,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan also said that the international mediation group — the Minsk Group — had failed to find a peaceful solution to the Karabakh conflict.OThe Minsk Group, created in 1992, leads the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)’s efforts to find a solution to the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The president urged ECO countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to work together to find a solution to the conflict, stressing that Armenia’s “occupant attitude” should be addressed at each international meeting.

“We, both as ECO and Organization of Islamic Cooperation, should pay attention [to the situation],” he said.

An Azerbaijani soldier was martyred on Monday in a border clash, the country’s Defense Ministry said. On Feb. 24, five soldiers were similarly martyred.

Last week’s incident nearly coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre of Feb. 25-26, 1992, in which Armenian forces killed 613 Azerbaijanis in Karabakh.

Clashes in the occupied Karabakh region, which pro-Armenian militia took over in 1993, are nothing new.

In April 2016, more than 270 military personnel lost their lives in the worst-ever breach of a 1994 treaty between the sides, according to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a six-year war over occupied Karabakh in the early 1980s until the 1994 cease-fire.

Three UN Security Council Resolutions (853, 874 and 884), and United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 19/13 and 57/298 refer to Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe refers to the region as being occupied by Armenian forces.

Turkey’s president on Wednesday also urged the need for resolutions of political disputes between the members of ECO and called for joint efforts to tackle terrorism.

“We need to take matters into our own hands,” he said.

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