October 7, 2020 – 14:10 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that Armenia’s conditions for a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh are Turkey “discontinuing its engagement” and “the withdrawal of mercenaries and terrorists or their elimination.”
In an interview with TIME, Pashinyan doubled down on accusations that Turkey is already intervening militarily on behalf of Azerbaijan, claiming President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to extend his influence in the region.
“Armenia and Karabakh have now become a civilizational front line,” Pashinyan told TIME by phone on October 2, accusing Erdogan of sending between 1,500–2,000 Syrian terrorists to the region in support of Azerbaijan.
In concert with Turkey’s military incursions into Syria and Libya and its volatile maritime standoff in the East Mediterranean, Pashinyan said: “Turkey’s action is nothing short of action aimed at reinstating the Ottoman empire.”
Asked whether his actions in the run-up to the conflict were provocative, Pashinyan said that when he came to power he made a historic call for a solution that met the needs of Azerbaijanis as well as Armenians. His subsequent statements came only in response to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s reiteration of Azerbaijan’s maximalist position, he said.
Pashinyan said Armenia’s conditions for a ceasefire are Turkey “discontinuing its engagement” and “the withdrawal of mercenaries and terrorists or their elimination.” He said mercenaries were harassing Azerbaijani villages, demanding the implementation of shariah law, and ransacking shops selling alcohol.
Pashinyan estimated that some “1,500–2,000 terrorists were present in Azerbaijan.”
Azerbaijan, with help from Turkey, launched a large-scale offensive against Karabakh (Artsakh) in the morning of September 27, shelling Armenian positions and civilian settlements with large caliber weapons and rocket systems. Armenia and Karabakh have introduced martial law and total mobilization. The Armenian side has reported deaths and injuries both among the civilian population and the military. International and local journalists too have been injured in Azeri shelling of towns and villages.
Donations can be made to Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, which has launched a fundraising campaign to support Karabakh amid Azerbaijan’s aggression.