Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow persuaded Ankara to not send peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh following the end of the conflict between Yerevan and Baku.
The Russian leader said that the presence of Turkish peacekeepers on the line risks provoking Armenia, given "the very difficult legacy of the past," referring to the Armenian genocide.
"This is a factor that can be recognized or not. Someone recognizes, someone in the world doesn’t. But there are no problems for Russia. We have long recognized this. But why provoke the Armenian side by the presence of Turkish soldiers on the line?" Putin told Russia 24 TV on Nov. 17.
"It seems to me that President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan understood this perfectly well. We did not have any problems here,” he added.
The Armenian genocide refers to the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923.
Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.
During the interview, Putin also said that Turkey never denied it took Azerbaijan's side in the conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.
"As for Turkey's role, it is well-known, Azerbaijan addressed it directly and Turkey never hid it they unilaterally supported Azerbaijan," the Russian leader said, adding that Turkey's clout in Azerbaijan was "a geopolitical consequence of the Soviet Union's collapse."
The president argued that Turkey's actions could be viewed from different vantage points "but you can hardly accuse Turkey of violating international law."