Putin, Erdogan Ready to Join Efforts to Solve Karabakh Conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin informed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call about phone talks with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia aimed at looking for a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Kremlin said on Saturday, TASS reported.

According to the Kremlin press office, both presidents confirmed readiness to seek peace for Nagorno-Karabakh.

“[The two presidents] focused on the situation in the zone of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Russian president informed his Turkish counterpart about a series of his telephone contacts with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Those contacts sought options for the cessation of hostilities at the soonest possible time and for finding a political and diplomatic solution. Mutual readiness to cooperate so as to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict was confirmed,” the statement said.

On Saturday, the Turkish presidential office said that Erdogan insisted that Yerevan should be persuaded to sit at the negotiation table. He pointed out that a permanent solution to that conflict was a key factor for stability in the region, according to the press release.

The Kremlin said earlier that on November 1 and 2 Putin held meaningful talks over the phone with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, discussing solutions to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with them.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians. Three ceasefire agreements have been negotiated so far, but almost immediately both sides begin blaming each other for violating the truce.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them.