Turkish soldiers assigned to work in a joint Turkish-Russian Karabakh peace monitoring center arrived in Azerbaijan on Tuesday.
According to the Russian Tass news agency, one general and another 35 officers of the Turkish armed forces will work in the joint center established to monitor the Karabakh ceasefire, Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced on Tuesday.
“After the construction is complete and the joint center is opened, our general and 35 officers will assume their service,” the Anadolu news agency quoted Akar as saying.
The Turkish NTV television channel earlier reported about the dispatch of the republic’s servicemen to Azerbaijan. The joint Russian-Turkish monitoring center for Karabakh may start operating in January 2021, according to NTV.
Akar made the announcement during a virtual year-end evaluation meeting, which was also attended by Turkish armed forces chief of staff General Yasar Gylar and other military commanders and senior staff.
After the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan signed the November 9 agreement that ended the Karabakh war, Turkey and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a joint center to monitor the peace deal.
While official Moscow has said that the monitoring center would not be located near Artsakh and will largely be manned by drones, earlier this month Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said the center will be established in the Aghdam, one of the several Artsakh territories surrendered to Azerbaijan per the November 9 agreement.
Akar emphasized that as part of the efforts to clear the region of mines and improvised explosives, the activities of Turkish armed forces continued in the region.
Two Special Mine Detection and Clearance Teams, consisting of 135 mine clearance specialists of the Turkish Armed Forces, have been supporting the Azerbaijani troops in regions liberated from Armenia’s occupation.
The Turkish troops are also training Azerbaijani soldiers in mine detection and clearance techniques and tactics.
“As part of the humanitarian aid activities, we did our best to support our Azerbaijani brothers and sisters, and we will continue to do so. We have supported them in their rightful and honorable struggle, and we will continue to do so,” Akar added.