ANKARA

Turkey’s foreign minister held separate phone talks with his Russian and Azerbaijani counterparts on Thursday, according to diplomatic sources.

Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed with Russia’s Sergey Lavrov the Upper Karabakh dispute as well as Armenia’s violation of the cease-fire and attacks on Azerbaijani civilians.

He also discussed the Upper Karabakh issue with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.

The Turkish foreign minister also held talks with Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek and Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks over the phone.

This came hours after three people were killed and five others injured when Armenian forces targeted civilians at a funeral in the city of Terter, western Azerbaijan.

Upper Karabakh conflict

Clashes erupted between the two countries on Sept. 27, and since then Armenia has continued attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces.

Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor General’s Office said on Thursday that at least 43 civilians had been killed and 218 injured due to the fresh Armenian attacks.

Armenia’s attacks have also rendered 1,592 houses, 79 apartments and 290 public buildings unusable.

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.

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 to in 1994. Multiple UN resolutions, as well as international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.

Many world powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have urged a new cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

Some 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

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