Turkey on Saturday slammed Greece for standing with the occupying country, Armenia, in the current conflict in the region with Azerbajijan.

This stance is further proof of “Greece’s choice for a policy of tension and escalation in its relations with Turkey, rather than good neighbourliness, dialogue and cooperation,” said Hami Aksoy, Foreign Ministry spokesman, in a statement.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias “needs to differentiate between the occupier and the victim in Nagorno-Karabakh,” said Aksoy, referring to the conflict around Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory belonging to Azerbaijan.

Aksoy urged Greece to condemn the illegal Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories and support the UN Security Council resolutions that urge Armenia to immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw.

Greece’s current position is part of its pattern of being “the creator of the problems or the supporter of the creators of the problems,” he said.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

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.

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

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.

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.

* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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