Tuesday 20 October 2020
News ID: 83372
Publish Date: 29 September 2020 - 21:43
YEREVAN, Armenia (Dispatches) — Armenia said one of its warplanes was shot down Tuesday by a fighter jet from Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey, killing the pilot, in fighting over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan denied it.
Armenian officials said an SU-25 from its air force was shot down in Armenian airspace by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet that took off from Azerbaijan, and the pilot was killed.
The allegation of downing the jet was "absolutely untrue,” said Fahrettin Altun, communications director for Turkey’s president. Azerbaijani officials called it "another fantasy of the Armenian military propaganda machine.”
Earlier in the day, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said Armenian forces shelled the Dashkesan region in Azerbaijan. Armenian officials said Azerbaijani forces opened fire on a military unit in the Armenian town of Vardenis, setting a bus on fire and killing one civilian.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry denied shelling the region and said the reports were laying the groundwork for Azerbaijan "expanding the geography of hostilities, including the aggression against the Republic of Armenia.”
Dozens of people have been killed and wounded since fighting broke out Sunday. Rebels in Nagorno-Karabakh reported 84 servicemen killed, while Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said 10 civilians were killed on its side, although he didn’t detail the country’s military casualties.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan and is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian rebels backed by the Armenian government since 1994 at the end of a separatist war following the breakup of the Soviet Union three years earlier.
The region in the Caucasus Mountains of about 4,400 square kilometers (1,700 square miles), or about the size of the U.S. state of Delaware, is 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Armenian border. Soldiers backed by Armenia also occupy some Azerbaijani territory outside the region.
Turkey supports Azerbaijan in the conflict, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urging Armenia to withdraw immediately from the separatist region.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey is "by Azerbaijan’s side on the field and at the (negotiating) table.”
Cavusoglu said the international community must defend Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity in the same way it defended the integrity of Ukraine and Georgia.
"They are holding Azerbaijan, whose territories have been occupied, on an equal footing with Armenia. This is a wrong and unjust approach,” Cavusoglu said after a visit to Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Ankara.
Russia, which along with France and the United States co-chairs the Minsk group set up in 1992 to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, urged every country to help facilitate a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
"We call on all countries, especially our partners such as Turkey, to do everything to convince the

 opposing parties to cease fire and return to peacefully resolving the conflict by politico-diplomatic means,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.
Iranian Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said Iran, Turkey and Russia can help solve the conflict.
"We still believe that the conflict between the two neighboring countries of the Azerbaijan Republic and the Armenia Republic has a peaceful solution and Iran, Turkey and Russia can help those two neighbors patch up their differences peacefully in line with the United Nations’ resolutions,” Rabiei said.
He added that Iran has repeatedly voiced respect for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Armenia and, in general, the national sovereignty of all countries.
Iran believes that both countries should hold negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the Karabakh conflict, he said, adding, "We do not regard any other solution as beneficial to regional nations.”
He added that Iran is following the recent conflict closely and with concern.
The flare-up is due to the failure of diplomatic negotiations within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, led by France, the U.S., and Russia.
The key sticking point is Azerbaijan’s demand that Armenia withdraw its military forces from Karabakh and let Azeris return to their homes, while Yerevan is apparently satisfied with the stalemate because it allows the status-quo to continue.




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