Ankara Says Baku was “Forced” to Take Measures
The office of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan said it would continue its attacks on Artsakh until the Armenians living there “raise the white flag” and surrender.
“The Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan is prepared for a meeting in Yevlakh with the representatives of the Armenian residents living in our country’s Karabakh region. Nevertheless, for the antiterror measures to stop, the illegal Armenian military formations must raise the white flag, all the weapons must be handed over, and the illegal regime must be dissolved,” a statement on Tuesday said.
This statement was in response to an appeal by Artsakh authorities who offered to negotiate with Azerbaijan on Tuesday hours after Azerbaijani forces launched a massive military offensive along the entire line-of-contact.
“The Karabakh side appeals to the Azerbaijani side to immediately cease the hostilities and sit down at the negotiation table with the aim of settling the situation,” Artsakh authorities said in a statement issued late Tuesday afternoon.
Azerbaijan, which has characterized its attacks as warding off ‘terrorist’ threats in Artsakh said the attacks would continue.
Aliyev’s office said if Armenians of Artsakh do not surrender “the antiterror measures will be continued until the end.”
Hikmet Hajiyev, Aliyev’s advisor told Reuters that Azerbaijani forces intend to continue their attacks.
“Azerbaijan’s armed forces have crossed the line of contact in Karabakh in several directions and are determined to achieve their strategic goals,” Hajiyev told Reuters.
“Azerbaijan has no military goals against Armenia,” assured Hajiyev, adding, “We can no longer tolerate the presence of armed forces in our territory.”
The Artsakh Defense Army reported a second wave of attacks, saying heavy fighting continued along the entire line-of-contact, with Azerbaijani forces deploying not only heavy artillery but also combat drones and warplanes.
A senior aide to Aliyev told Turkish television, meanwhile, that the Azerbaijani army is close to achieving the objectives of its “counterterrorism operation.” It has already “neutralized military targets” in Karabakh, he said without elaborating, Azatutyun.am reported.
Meanwhile, Ankara announced that Baku was “forced to take measures” in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The Azerbaijani army has undertaken an anti-terrorist operation exclusively against military elements, because until then Baku’s legitimate and well-founded concerns remained unanswered. Therefore, Azerbaijan was forced to take measures that it considers necessary in its sovereign territory,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Earlier on Tuesday, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said that it had informed the Russian peacekeeping command, as well as a Turkish monitoring unit in Aghdam of its plans to carry out an “antiterrorism” mission inside Artsakh.