With Azerbaijani scoring numerous successes in liberating occupied territories from Armenia, its victory in Upper Karabakh is drawing near, said Turkey’s president on Saturday.

“We are getting close to victory,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party provincial congress in southern Turkey.

Turkey has long supported neighboring Azerbaijan’s rightful territorial claims in Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, a Caucasus region illegally occupied by Armenia for nearly three decades.

Speaking in Kahramanmaras province, Erdogan said he was happy to hear positive news from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev over the phone.

Since a new round of clashes erupted on Sept. 27, Armenia has repeatedly attacked Azerbaijani civilians and forces, even violating three humanitarian cease-fires.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh and surrounding areas, which together make up some 20% of Azerbaijani territory.

While world powers have called for a sustainable cease-fire, Turkey has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

Multiple UN resolutions also call for the withdrawal of the occupying forces.

Picnic in Maras, Northern Cyprus

Erdogan added that he plans to hold a picnic on Nov. 15 in Maras, in the Turkish Cypriot city of Gazimagusa (Famagusta), along with Devlet Bahceli, head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the AK Party’s parliamentary and election ally.

The abandoned town of Maras was partially reopened last month for public use.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the UK.

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