Armenia: Turkey destabilizes region

Armenian Foreign Minister Zehrab Manatsakanian said on Saturday that he was "not surprised" by Turkish policies in recent developments between his country and Azerbaijan, describing what Ankara is doing as "a dangerous geopolitical step."

"I cannot say that we were surprised by the Turkish position, as they are working to destabilize the region," said Manatsakanian.

He added: "We saw how Turkey is trying to impose its control on neighboring countries. These new Ottoman policies extended to our region as well."

Last week, confrontations resumed on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which have been fighting for decades for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which was controlled by Armenians during a war that killed 30,000 people in the 1990s.

The battles began on the northern border between the two former Soviet countries on Sunday, and resulted in the deaths of at least 17 people, according to the official toll.

The disputed region is highly sensitive, as Armenia is under a Moscow-led political-military coalition, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, while Azerbaijan has support from Turkey.

On the reason for Turkish interference in the recent crisis, the Armenian minister explained: "Turkey is trying to impose its control and is trying as much as possible to impose its policies to try to destabilize security and stability in the region."

He added, "This is a dangerous geopolitical step, and it does not contribute in any way to finding peaceful solutions, nor does it contribute to maintaining strong stability in the region."

On the other hand, he stressed that his country is committed to peaceful solutions, and "we will reject any military solution, even though Armenia has strong defensive capabilities."

He continued: "There is no military solution to this conflict, and the only solution will be through peaceful endeavors."

He concluded his speech by saying: "We pledge to commit to any solution and work on it to respect the security and peaceful interests of all parties. War is not an alternative and will not be a solution for everyone, but it will be disastrous for the entire region."

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