Turkey vows support for Azerbaijan in conflict with Armenia over separatist Karabakh region
Turkey on Sunday vowed complete support for Baku and called on Armenia to give up its "aggression" after heavy fighting erupted in Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorny Karabakh.
The worst clashes since 2016 broke out on Sunday between arch-foes Azerbaijan and Armenia who have been locked for decades in a territorial dispute over Nagorny Karabakh.
Turkey is a key ally of Azerbaijan with close cultural and linguistic ties with Azerbaijan.
Ankara has no diplomatic relations with Yerevan due to a dispute over the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, which Armenia says is a genocide.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Sunday warned against Turkish interference in the conflict.
"I call on the international community to use all existing levers to prevent Turkey's meddling which can once and for all destabilise the [Caucasus] region," Pashinyan said in a televised statement.
He added that Turkish "aggressive behaviour causes serious concerns," and denounced Ankara's support for its ally Baku.
"The Turkish people will support our Azerbaijani brothers with all our means as always," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted.
He accused Armenia of "being the biggest threat in the region to peace and stability" and criticised the international community for failing to give the "necessary and sufficient reaction" to Armenia's "aggression".
Erdogan also said he held a phone call with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during which he was "witness once again to his shrewd and determined position".
"The greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Caucasus is Armenia's aggression, and it should give up this aggression which will throw the region into fire," Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin "strongly" condemned the clashes and said Armenia "once again violated international law".
He called on the international community to "say stop to this dangerous provocation" in a tweet.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed the crisis on Sunday during a telephone conversation, a Turkish diplomatic source said, without giving details.