“Turkey has returned to the South Caucasus to continue the Armenian genocide” – Nikol Pashinyan’s Interview with The Globe and Mail
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gave an interview to Canadian “The Globe and Mail” renowned periodical, in which he referred to the situation along the Karabakh-Azerbaijan line of contact. The article on the Prime Minister’s interview is presented below.
“Armenia and Azerbaijan are on the brink of all-out war over Nagorno-Karabakh. In an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Pashinyan said his country is on a “civilizational front line” – and that countries such as Canada that are allied to Turkey, via NATO, need to decide which side they are on.
Mr. Pashinyan said Turkey had encouraged what looks to be a full-scale attempt by Azerbaijan to recapture mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian-populated region that has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces since a bloody war in the early 1990s. He said Turkey had sent Syrian mercenaries to aid the Azerbaijani side – an allegation supported by Russia and France – and that the Turkish air force had also attacked Armenian positions.
“Turkey’s military personnel and the Turkish armed forces are directly engaged in the hostilities,” Mr. Pashinyan said by telephone from the Armenian capital of Yerevan. “Turkey’s NATO allies must explain why these F-16 jets are shelling towns and villages in Nagorno-Karabakh and killing civilian populations.”
On Thursday, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said he had spoken by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin and that both men “share concern about the sending of Syrian mercenaries by Turkey to Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Mr. Pashinyan also called for Western countries to reconsider weapons sales to Turkey, after The Globe reported on allegations that imaging and targeting systems manufactured by Burlington, Ont.-based L3Harris Wescam – and sold to Turkey – were being used by the Azerbaijani side in the conflict.
He said Turkey’s role in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be viewed in the context of Turkey’s involvement in conflicts in Syria and Libya, as well as Turkey’s “aggressive” stand toward Greece and Cyprus over maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea.
Mr. Pashinyan said his government was in “permanent” conversations with Russia, and went on to note that Turkey’s behavior was an issue for the entire international community.
On Thursday, France, Russia and the United States issued a joint call for an immediate ceasefire and for the warring parties “to commit without delay to resuming substantive negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions.” However, the ceasefire push was rejected by Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan.
Mr. Pashinyan said he welcomed the ceasefire call, and condemned Turkey’s rejection of it.
“Terrorists imported from the Middle East are fighting on the side of Azerbaijan, under Turkey’s sponsorship. How could anyone propose now to leave the population of Nagorno-Karabakh unprotected, facing terrorists and extremists?” he said. “A ceasefire can be established only if Turkey is removed from the South Caucasus.”
Mr. Pashinyan cast Mr. Erdogan as a leader with dreams of restoring the Ottoman Empire, which decimated its ethnic Armenian population with a series of massacres and deportations carried out during the First World War.
“A hundred years have passed and Turkey has returned to the South Caucasus, in order to continue the Armenian genocide here.”