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World

Erdogan to visit Karabakh region won back by Azerbaijan

  • Erdogan said he will fly to Azerbaijan from next week's NATO summit in Brussels and watch Turkey play Wales in Baku in the Euro 2020 football championship on Wednesday.
09 Jun 2021

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday he will visit Azerbaijan to celebrate its victory over Armenia in a brief war last year, touring a region recaptured in disputed Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan seized back swathes of territory in the separatist ethnic Armenia region with the help of Turkish combat drones and other weaponry from Ankara.

The conflict claimed 6,000 lives and ended with a Russian-brokered truce in November that saw ethnic Armenians pushed out of large parts of the land they had won during a brutal post-Soviet war in the 1990s.

Erdogan said he will fly to Azerbaijan from next week's NATO summit in Brussels and watch Turkey play Wales in Baku in the Euro 2020 football championship on Wednesday.

He said he and his "brother", Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, would then visit Shusha, a historic city that fell to Azerbaijani forces in the closing days of the Karabakh war.

The Shusha visit could prove to be especially painful to Armenians because many view the ancient city as the primary centre of Armenian culture in Karabakh.

Turkey has historically poor relations with Armenia.

Tensions between the two simmered up again when US President Joe Biden in April recognised the Ottoman Empire's genocide of Armenians during World War I.

While the Karabakh truce has largely held, the border region has witness several skirmishes.

The war was also followed by protests and political upheaval in Armenia, with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan calling a snap election for June 20.