ANKARA

Azerbaijan has the ability to liberate its occupied lands by itself, Turkey’s top diplomat said Wednesday, amid Azerbaijan fighting off an offensive by Armenian forces in occupied Upper Karabakh.

“Azerbaijan is fighting to protect its own lands. Where in the world are the occupied and occupier treated the same?” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk.

Border clashes broke out early Sunday when Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions, leading to multiple casualties.

With these attacks, Armenia ignored the international system and international law, Cavusoglu said, adding that this attitude deserves a response.

Turkey continues to support Azerbaijan, he added, saying: “We said that if Azerbaijan wants to solve [the Armenian occupying problem] on the ground, we will stand by Azerbaijan.”

Following Armenia’s border violations and attacks in occupied Upper Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan’s parliament declared a state of war in some areas.

Azerbaijan declared a partial military mobilization on Monday.

Upper Karabakh conflict

Relations between the two former Soviet nations have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.

The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed on in 1994.

France, Russia, and NATO, among others, have called for an immediate halt to clashes in the occupied region.

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