ISTANBUL

The Turkish Physicians Union announced on Friday that if needed they can send volunteers to work in Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked region sandwiched between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

A total of 504 Turkish doctors have filled in volunteering forms for the group’s Be a Volunteer for Karabakh project.

About 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory — including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions — has been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

Since clashes broke out on Sept. 27, Armenia has repeatedly attacked Azerbaijani civilians and forces, violating three humanitarian cease-fire agreements since Oct. 10.

To date, at least 91 civilians have lost their lives — including 11 children and 27 women — while 400 people — including at least 14 babies, 36 children, 101 women — have been injured in attacks by Armenian forces.

Representatives of the group visited Azerbaijani Consul General Narmina Mustafayeva and told her about the overwhelming response from Turkish doctors.

Recalling their support for the just cause of Azerbaijan against the occupation of Armenian forces, the group said in a statement: “We are always ready to come to Azerbaijan if needed to provide health services at the frontline.”

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh.

Four UN Security Council resolutions and two from the UN General Assembly, as well as international organizations, demand the “immediate complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces” from occupied Azerbaijani territory.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe 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 to in 1994.

World powers including Russia, France and the US have called for a sustainable cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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