Turkey’s main opposition leader on Tuesday voiced support for Azerbaijan’s righteous cause in Upper Karabakh.

“In clashes [with Armenia], the hearts of 83 million [Turkish people] beat with Azerbaijan,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), told his party’s parliamentary group in the capital Ankara.

Azerbaijan has the advantage of being justified on the Upper Karabakh issue under international law, Kilicdaroglu noted.

“We must back this righteous cause,” he said.

Kilicdaroglu also called on Armenia to end the occupation in the Upper Karabakh region.

The ongoing clashes began on Sept. 27, when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region, leading to casualties.

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

Multiple UN resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the invading 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 reached in 1994.

Many world powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have urged an immediate cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense.

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