October 5, 2020 – 12:59 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that the the United States needs to explain whether it has given F-16 jets to Turkey, which uses them to bomb peaceful Armenian populations.
In an interview with The New York Times, Pashinyan said he talked over the phone on October 1 with U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser and raised a delicate issue: Why is nothing being done to stop a longtime United States ally, Turkey, from using American-made F-16 jets against ethnic Armenians?
According to Pashinyan, the conflict has taken on a far more dangerous dimension because of Turkey’s direct military intervention in support of Azerbaijan.
The conflict has set off alarms about the risks of a wider war and put the United States, with its large and politically influential Armenian Diaspora, in the uncomfortable position of watching Turkey, a vital NATO ally, deploying F-16 jets in support of Armenia’s enemies.
“The United States,” Pashinyan said, “needs to explain whether it gave those F-16s to bomb peaceful villages and peaceful populations.” He said that Mr. O’Brien had “heard and acknowledged” his concerns.
Pashinyan declined to say whether Armenia might be ready to surrender any territory to Azerbaijan as part of a possible peace settlement, insisting that this was not up to him but a matter for the leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh.
For Armenia, Pashinyan said, the current fighting poses an “existential threat” because of the role of Turkey, whose precursor, the Ottoman Empire, killed 1.5 million Armenians in the genocide during the World War I.
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 civilian settlements.