Turkey on Sunday congratulated “brotherly and dear” Azerbaijan on the occasion of its 29th Independence Day.

“We are with you as your brothers in your operation to liberate Upper Karabakh from Armenian occupation, and we will always be with you. As one nation, two states, we will stand [by each other] forever!” Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

“We believe that next year we will celebrate your independence day with victory applause and more enthusiasm.”

Azerbaijan declared independence not once but twice in the 20th century — in 1918, with the fall of the Russian Czarist regime, and regained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Today, it is marking the day with both pride and sorrow, as it comes amid deadly Armenian attacks in the wake of a longstanding dispute in Upper Karabakh.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since the early 1990s when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

Fresh clashes erupted on Sept. 27, and Armenia has since continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

The second cease-fire – which went into effect 12 midnight Saturday (2000GMT) – was reached between Baku and Yerevan after the Oct. 10 truce – meant to allow an exchange of prisoners and the recovery of bodies – was breached hours later by Armenian missile attacks on Azerbaijan’s city of Ganja.

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