Just yesterday NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Turkey to use its “considerable influence to calm tensions” between Armenia and Azerbaijan as fierce fighting continues in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region.
The appeal was widely mocked by commentators in the West as well as in Armenian media, given it’s been well documented since the start of the conflict that Turkey has been a party to the conflict in backing its declared “brother country” Azerbaijan. And of course there’s the historic Armenian Genocide which caused many to laugh at the strange NATO appeal, as if Turkey is somehow ‘neutral’.
France has joined in the controversy over alleged Turkish intervention, as according to the AFP French government sources are now formally charging there’s evidence of Turkish ‘military involvement’ in Karabakh.
This comes nearly a week after French President Emmanuel Macron issued statements suggesting Turkish involvement in transferring Syrian mercenaries to the war theater.
“We now have information which indicates that Syrian fighters from jihadist groups have (transited) through Gaziantep (southeastern Turkey) to reach the Nagorno-Karabakh theatre of operations,” Macron told reporters on arrival at an EU summit last week. “It is a very serious new fact, which changes the situation.”
Macron’s office later said after talks with Russia’s Putin that “They [Russia] also shared their concern regarding the sending of Syrian mercenaries by Turkey to Nagorno-Karabakh,” according to a statement.
Following this, Armenia’s defense ministry had reported one of its fighter jets was downed over Armenian territory after it was fired upon by a Turkish F-16 jet which had taken off from Baku. The legitimacy of the allegation was never backed up by either the Europeans or other international observers. Turkey had adamantly denied claims that the Sept. 29 shootdown had anything to do with a Turkish jet.
Meanwhile the US, France, and Russia have jointly called for an immediate ceasefire and for both sides to come to the negotiating table.
Currently Armenia has reportedly mustered reserve forces and continues sending national troops to the frontlines, where Azerbaijan forces continue shelling cities in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to recent Armenian military figures, there are nearly 300 deaths among its armed forces, while casualties among civilians are likely in the hundreds on both sides.
But amid the fog of war the number of casualties has not been regularly reported, especially on the Azeri side.