President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday denied claims that Turkey had sent Syrian fighters to support its ally Azerbaijan in the battle around the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“Those who call us say ‘you sent the mujahideen from Syria there.’ But we don’t have such an agenda,” Erdogan said in a speech before television.
Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Ankara of sending Syrian “jihadists” to the region. He accused Turkey of crossing a “red line”.
Erdogan said on Wednesday, “They say ‘you are sending mujahideen from Syria to Azerbaijan.’ They (mujahideen) have work to do in their own country; they will not go there. “
Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics, have been in conflict for decades over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian region that has separated from Azerbaijan. That happened during a war in the 1990s that took about 30,000 lives.
Azerbaijan has never hidden its desire to regain control of the area, and no state has ever recognized Nagorno-Karabakh’s declaration of independence.
The conflict flared up again a few weeks ago with shelling from both sides. Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of having started.