They will monitor the ceasefire agreement between the Azerbaijanis and Armenia, which was agreed with the aim of ending the conflict in the region
The glow of explosions, smoke and flames are seen during fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan near the Cathedral of the Holy Savior in Shushi, outside Stepanakert, in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, on Saturday, November 7, 2020. [AP Foto]
ANKARA, Turkey.- The Turkish Parliament on Tuesday granted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan permission to deploy peacekeepers in Azerbaijan in order to monitor the ceasefire agreement between the Azerbaijanis and Armenia, which was agreed with the aim of ending the conflict in the region.
By show of hands, Turkish legislators voted in favor of a one-year mandate that will allow the Executive to send troops to Azerbaijan, where its task will be to report – from a joint monitoring center with Russia – possible violations of the truce.
With this, the Erdogan government will be able to determine how many troops from the Armed Forces it will send. In addition, the provision established that civilian personnel may also be deployed as part of the peacekeeping mission in the framework of the ceasefire that ended six weeks of intense fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia for the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Last week, the Defense Ministers of Russia and Turkey signed a memorandum to create a joint monitoring center in Azerbaijan. However, the technical details of the operation are still under development.
Azerbaijan has maintained constant pressure for Turkey, its ally – a nation that has supported Baku during the conflict – to take an active role in the peace talks.
For their part, Russian officials, who have maintained a position more in favor of Armenia, have indicated that Ankara’s participation will be limited to the work of the monitoring center on Azerbaijani soil, and remarked that the Turkish forces will not be established in Nagorno- Karabakh. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, specified that the aforementioned center will operate remotely and will use drones, among other technical means, to monitor possible violations.
The new mandate in Turkey will also further expand the country’s military commitments in the Middle East. Ankara has tried to forge itself as a regional power for years and has sent military elements to territories such as Iraq and Syria to fight Kurdish militants. In addition, it has deployed troops in Libya around the civil war.
Turkey has also maintained a military presence in Qatar, Somalia and Cyprus and has peacekeepers in Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Balkans.