Turkey denies direct involvement in Azerbaijan's Karabakh campaign

A Turkish defense ministry official told Reuters that Turkey is employing various methods, including military training and modernization efforts, to support its ally Azerbaijan, yet the country did not directly participate in Baku's military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh.


Turkey is using "all means", including military training and modernization, to support its close ally Azerbaijan but it did not play a direct role in Baku's military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, a Turkish defense ministry official said on Sept. 21.

Azerbaijan launched a lightning offensive to take back control of its breakaway Karabakh region on Sept. 19. It later announced a ceasefire that would disarm the ethnic Armenian separatists who had held much of the region - regarded internationally as part of Azerbaijan - since the 1990s.

NATO ally Turkey publicly threw its support behind Azerbaijan's "steps to preserve its territorial integrity" but it had been unclear whether Ankara played any active role in the 24-hour military operation.

"It was Azerbaijan army's own operation, there was no direct involvement of Turkey," a Turkish defense ministry official told reporters.

"Turkey's cooperation with Azerbaijan in military training and army modernization has been underway for a long time. The Azerbaijani army's success in the latest operation clearly shows the level they achieved," the official said.

He also said a joint Turkish-Russian monitoring center was still operating and was reporting on any ceasefire violations.

Turkey, which has close linguistic, cultural and economic ties with Azerbaijan, supports efforts by Baku and Yerevan to build peaceful relations, the official added.

In a phone call late on Sep. 20, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reaffirmed Ankara's support to his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

"President Erdoğan reiterated Turkey's heartfelt support for Azerbaijan," the presidency said in a statement.