Armenia has been using militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG) to fight against Azerbaijan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
In a speech to members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in parliament on Oct. 28, Erdoğan said that he held a phone call with Putin on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.Aliyev threatens to use Turkish F-16s in case of 'external attack on Azerbaijan'
"They say, 'You're sending foreign militants to Azerbaijan from Syria.' I told Mr. President [Putin] that around 2,000 PKK and YPG militants are fighting for Armenia with 600$ salary," Erdoğan said, to which Putin reportedly responded by saying, "I don't know about that."
"I told him that this should be addressed and steps need to be taken accordingly. I don't believe that Putin would pamper the PKK and the YPG, but he needs to speak to [Armenian Prime Minister Nikol] Pashinyan on the issue," the Turkish President added.
Erdoğan said that Turkey is sincere in its efforts to resolve the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and that he can talk to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the issue.
"I told Putin, 'I'll talk to my brother Ilham and you talk to Pashinyan. Let's take our steps.' I hope they are sincere and the problem will be resolved. The process is ongoing," he said.
"We also conveyed our red lines. If those are crossed, we won't listen to anyone," he added.
'Turkey has right to act if militants not cleared from Syria border'
Turning to the issue of the Syrian conflict, Erdoğan said that Turkey had the legitimate right to act again if militants are not cleared from its border with Syria, where it has carried out several incursions in the last four years.
"If the terrorists here are not cleared as we were promised, we have the legitimate right to mobilise once again," he said.
In an offensive a year ago, with the support of Syrian rebels, Turkey seized a 120 km (75 mile) stretch of border territory in northeast Syria from YPG militants.Russian airstrikes kill Turkish-backed rebels in Syria
That incursion was widely condemned by Ankara's Western allies as the YPG was a the main component of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that helped the United States defeat ISIS.
Erdoğan also voiced concern about the situation in northwest Syria's Idlib region, which was the scene of heavy fighting between Syrian government forces and Turkey-backed rebels until Ankara and Moscow reached a ceasefire deal in March.
On Oct. 26, air strikes on a camp in northwest Syria run by rebel fighters backed by Turkey killed scores of rebels.
"The attack by Russia on [Turkey-backed] Syrian National Army forces in the Idlib region shows that lasting peace in the region is not wanted," Erdoğan said.