Azeri President Ilham Aliyev has admitted that Azerbaijan was the country that started last year's Nagorno-Karabakh war despite Baku's repeated remarks on Yerevan being the side that initiated the conflict.
Speaking to broadcaster CNN Türk on Aug. 14, Aliyev said that Azerbaijan started a "War of Salvation" when negotiations with Armenia failed.
“This [occupation] was a great injustice and a situation that contradicted all the norms and principles of international law. Unfortunately, for 30 years, the Minsk Group did not come close to resolving this issue. There was some activity, but there was no result in the end,” Aliyev said.
“The result was zero and the hopes of the Azerbaijani people were completely dashed. Because if the negotiations remain fruitless for 30 years, this means that the process of freezing this issue is going on," he said, adding that he had promised that Azerbaijan "will liberate our native lands from occupiers at any cost."
"And so it happened. My words were materialized, and Azerbaijan started the War of Salvation, liberated its historical lands from the occupiers, restored historical justice, expelled the occupiers from our lands and restored its territorial integrity,” Aliyev noted.
Commenting on Turkey's support to Baku, Aliyev said that they purchased plenty of weapons from Ankara, in addition to the armed drones that experts say changed the course of the war.
"Turkey's defense industry is developing rapidly and we will, of course, benefit from this. My dear brother [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's determined remarks in the early hours of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh war played a very positive role," Aliyev said.
The Azeri President also said that Baku wants a peace agreement with Armenia.
"Both Armenia and Azerbaijan need to recognize each other's territorial integrity and the process of drawing borders must be started," he said.