Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev thanked his Turkish counterpart Monday for support against Armenia’s border violations in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Hikmet Hajiyev, assistant to the president and foreign policy chief for Azerbaijan’s Presidency, said Baku welcomed Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks calling on Armenia to immediately end the occupation of Azerbaijani territories.

Turkey, especially Erdogan, has strongly condemned the attack and shown absolute support, Hajiyev said.

Azerbaijan always stands by Turkey based on the “two states, one nation” principle, he quoted Aliyev as saying.

Ankara, as soon as the violations began, reiterated its support to Azerbaijan, with many officials, mainstream parties and the Turkish Foreign Ministry declaring unwavering backing to the brotherly Turkic nation.

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

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

Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions 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 upon in 1994.

The EU, Russia and NATO, among others, have urged an immediate halt to clashes along the frontier.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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