On Sunday, Nagorno-Karabakh separatists said it had destroyed four of Azerbaijan’s helicopters, 15 drones and 10 tanks during the latest violent clashes. Azerbaijan and Armenia have been engaged in a bitter battle predominantly over the mainly-ethnic Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is located in Azerbaijan but declared independence in 1991. After the latest clashes, Armenia declared martial law and mobilised its male population. The two countries have blamed the clashes on each other and have both reported several deaths from the violence.
A ceasefire was agreed in 1994, but both countries have continued to accuse each other over the frequent attacks.
Turkey has now lashed out at Armenia over the attacks, with both President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Defence Minister Hulusi Akar both sending huge warnings to the country.
Ankara has traditionally backed Muslim-majority Azerbaijan, and in July, the defence industry chief said his sector was ready to support Baku.
Today Mr Akar said Ankara would support Baku with “all its resources”, adding: “The biggest obstacle to peace and stability in the Caucasus is the hostile stance of Armenia and it must immediately turn back from this hostility that will send the region into fire.”
Turkish leader Mr Erdogan held a phone call with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev on Sunday, and urged the Armenian people to stand against leaders who he said were “dragging them to catastrophe”, adding Ankara’s solidarity with Baku would “increasingly continue”.
In a lengthy Twitter post, he described Armenia as the “biggest threat to peace and tranquility in the region”.
President Erdogan wrote: “In the phone calls we did today shrewd and resolute stance once again witness I’m the President of Azerbaijan, my brother, as I mentioned Ilham Aliyev, Turkey “one nation, two states” approach, will continue to strengthen its cooperation with Azerbaijani brothers.
“While we invite the Armenian people to defend their future against their rulership and those who use them like a puppet, we call on the whole world to stand by Azerbaijan in their struggle against occupation and oppression.
Mr Erdogan’s deputy Fuat Oktay accused Armenia of violating the ceasefire with the latest attacks on Sunday and urged other countries to “see this and separate the right from the wrong”.
He wrote on Twitter: “The certified provocateur Armenia has once again shown the world just what it understand from rights, laws, promises made and ceasefires.
“Turkey stands with its Azeri brothers, in however way needed.”
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also accused Armenia of violating international laws by carrying out attacks and said it was being “reckless”.
He said: “We believe this conflict can be resolved through peaceful negotiations, but the Armenian side has shown no interest so far other than continuing to occupy parts of Azerbaijan,”
Armenia has yet to respond to the latest intense criticism from Turkey’s leading politicians, but claimed Azerbaijan forces fired first in the attacks on Sunday.