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AA 14/10/20: Turkey, Azerbaijan share special relations: official

Ibrahim Kalin says country favors diplomatic solution, calls for end to Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani lands.


Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin underlined the "very special relations" between Turkey and Azerbaijan in a televised interview Tuesday.

Kalin said there is currently a power struggle in the South Caucasus, referring to ongoing clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

He said all parties in Turkey support Azerbaijan.

Refuting claims by the Armenian side blaming Turkey for violating a cease-fire, the top Turkish official noted that the country favors a diplomatic solution in the region while stressing the importance of Armenia ending its occupation of Azerbaijani lands.

Kalin further pointed out that it would not be possible to end the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia without the Minsk Group putting forward an action plan with a clear-cut framework and dates.

A humanitarian truce was declared Saturday for the exchange of prisoners and retrieval of bodies from both sides in Upper Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

The cease-fire came after a trilateral meeting was held in Moscow on Friday between the foreign ministers of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Despite the cease-fire, Armenian forces launched a missile strike on Azerbaijan's second-largest city, Ganja -- an area far from the front line -- leaving at least 10 people dead and 35 wounded, including women and children.

Commenting on ongoing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean with Greece, Kalin said the path for diplomacy remains open.

Underscoring that the recently announced survey activity of the Oruc Reis research vessel is in an area within Turkey's continental shelf, he reiterated that Greece's demands regarding the Eastern Mediterranean are "unjust."

In response to a question regarding the possible restoration of ties between Turkey and Egypt, Kalin said "If Egypt reveals a willingness to act with a positive agenda on regional issues, Turkey would not leave it unanswered."

In August, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal, spurning Turkey's goodwill gesture in halting its search.

Declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal "null and void," Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis to continue activities in an area within Turkey's continental shelf.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece's efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Ankara has also said that energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration of southern Cyprus.

Renewed efforts of the Oruc Reis in the Eastern Mediterranean will be within the Turkish continental shelf hundreds of kilometers away from the Greek mainland, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Monday.

It urged Greece to withdraw its maximalist demands, end military drills that escalate regional tensions and establish sincere dialogue through exploratory talks.

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