Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said the actions of Turkey and Azerbaijan amounted to a “terroristic attack” over Nagorno-Karabakh that formed part of the continuation of Armenian genocide.
“What we are facing is an Azeri-Turkish international terroristic attack,” Pashinyan told Sky News. “To me there is no doubt that this is a policy of continuing the Armenian genocide and a policy of reinstating the Turkish empire.”
The Armenian genocide refers to the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923.
Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.
Russia, the United States and France have led calls for a ceasefire over Nagorno-Karabakh but Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says they have neglected the crisis over the past three decades and should not lead peace making.
Turkey says a lasting peace will depend on proposals being made for what happens after hostilities end.
Erdogan’s stance had worsened a war of words with France, whose population includes many of Armenian origin, but it is accepted by Turkey‘s main opposition parties.
Military successes and the flexing of military muscle in other parts of the world have helped his ruling AK Party, allied with nationalists, retain an edge in opinion polls despite a currency depreciation that has worsened economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Erdogan’s job approval rose nearly 5% last month, according to MetroPoll research group, after a standoff with the European Union over Mediterranean territorial rights.
“All of these conflicts out there boost the perception that Turkey is a country under siege, rightly or wrongly,” said Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Istanbul-based EDAM think tank.
But he said that “ultimately it’s the economy that determines the political contest.”