Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned Armenian forces’ continued attacks on civilians in Azerbaijan.

“We curse the vile attacks that Armenian forces continue against civilians without discriminating children, young or old,” the ministry said in a statement. “This treacherous policy of Armenia to terrorize and murder civilians is the manifestation of the sickly mentality behind the Khojaly massacre,” nearly 30 years ago.

It said the Armenian administration, which uses all available means not to leave the occupied territories, acts like it lost its mind and conscience.

Regarding the Armenian attack Wednesday on Barda, which killed at least 21 civilians and injured nearly 70 others, it said Armenia would be held responsible for conducting war crimes.

“We wish Allah’s mercy on our brothers who lost their lives, immediate healing to the injured and our condolences and steadiness to all Azerbaijani people,” it said.

It called the international community, especially the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group — co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US — to respond to Armenia.

Khojaly has deep significance in the decades-long conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

On the heels of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, Armenian forces took the Khojaly in Karabakh on Feb. 26, 1992, after pounding it with tank and heavy artillery fire, assisted by an infantry regiment.

The massacre is regarded as one of the bloodiest incidents committed by Armenian forces against Azerbaijani civilians for control of the now-occupied Upper Karabakh region. 

Nearly 3-decade occupation

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

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.

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

The Minsk Group 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.

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