WASHINGTON, October 24. / TASS /. The Turkish Air Force continues to fly its F-16 fighters over Nagorno-Karabakh and coordinate unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strikes in the region. This statement was made by Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan in the Atlantic Council in Washington on Friday.
"There are now military aircraft, in fact, F-16s belonging to the Turkish Air Force. They fly over this area and also coordinate drone strikes on Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh," he said.
Mnatsakanyan was asked how the Armenian side views the initiative to establish a no-fly zone over the region where the conflict is taking place under international control by Russia, France and the United States. According to him, this issue can be discussed as an integral part of the ceasefire regime.
Earlier, the official representative of the Armenian Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan made a statement that the command posts of the Turkish Air Force coordinate the strikes of Azerbaijani unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on civilians and civilian infrastructure of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian government has repeatedly stated that Turkey is directly involved in military operations in Karabakh. Yerevan also notified international partners that terrorists from the Middle East from the paramilitary groups controlled by Turkey are fighting against the unrecognized NKR. In turn, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev assured that Turkish F-16s are not used in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. He denied allegations of Turkish military participation in hostilities in the conflict zone, as well as the fact that foreign mercenaries are fighting on the side of Azerbaijan.
Turkey's mediation role
Mnatsakanyan believes that Turkey cannot play any mediating role between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Karabakh settlement, since it is part of the problem.
He was asked whether Russia and Turkey could act as mediators and guarantors of security. "Turkey has no role here. Turkey is just part of the problem. So when the question is formulated in this way, it simply cannot be," Mnatsakanyan replied.
He was asked to clarify whether, in this case, the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia, the United States and France – can act as mediators. "This is exactly what is happening now. There are three co-chairs," said the Armenian Foreign Minister.
Mnatsakanyan on Friday held meetings in Washington with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and US Assistant to the President for National Security Robert O'Brien. American officials held similar talks with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, but the meetings were held separately.