Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said that Turkish soldiers will be sent to Azerbaijan "as soon as possible" to monitor a cease-fire deal between Azerbaijan and Armenia that aims to end the conflict in the region.
“Our preparations are completed. As a requirement of this resolution, Turkish soldiers will start their duty in Azerbaijan as soon as possible,” Akar said during his visit to the Turkish engine maker TUSAŞ premises in the capital Ankara on Nov. 21.
Earlier this week, Turkey's parliament approved the deployment of Turkish troops in Azerbaijan for a year. The mandate will allow Turkish troops to be stationed there for one year as part of an accord between Ankara and Moscow to monitor the implementation of the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire, which locked in territorial gains by Azerbaijan. Some 2,000 Russian peacekeeping troops are now also deploying to the region.
The ceasefire signed on Nov. 10 halted military action in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but populated by ethnic Armenians, after the worst fighting in the region since the 1990s.
Russia has said that Ankara’s involvement will be limited to the work of the monitoring center on Azerbaijani soil, and Turkish peacekeepers will not go to Nagorno-Karabakh. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said the center will operate remotely, using drones and other technical means to monitor possible violations.