Erdogan and Pashinyan Consult About Artsakh via Phone

Erdogan and Pashinyan Consult About Artsakh via Phone

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed rising tensions in the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict zone in a phone call on Monday.

In virtually identical readouts of the call, the press offices of the two leaders said they agreed that lasting peace and stability “will contribute to the development and prosperity of all countries of the region.” They pledged to “continue diplomatic efforts in this direction,” added the statements. No other details were reported.

Erdogan criticized “Armenia’s actions in Karabakh” on Sunday when he announced his intention to talk to Pashinyan. He pointed to the weekend election of a new Karabakh president strongly condemned by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Erdogan spoke with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev by phone on Saturday. His conversations with the two leaders came amid the increased risk of another upsurge in violence in the conflict zone.

Yerevan said last week that Azerbaijani troops have been massing along the Karabakh “line of contact” and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in possible preparation for another military offensive. For its part, Baku alleged growing Armenian “military provocations.” Erdogan likewise denounced Yerevan’s “provocative” moves earlier this month.

Azerbaijan’s top army general, Kerim Valiyev, arrived in Turkey earlier on Sunday for fresh talks with top Turkish military officials. Turkey provided decisive military support to Azerbaijan during the 2020 war in Karabakh.

Pashinyan offered to hold “urgent” talks with Aliyev during weekend phone calls with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the leaders of Germany, France and Iran. It is not clear whether he also tried to phone Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian-Armenian relations have deteriorated further this month due to what Moscow sees as “a series of unfriendly steps” taken by Yerevan. The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Armenian ambassador on Friday to hand him an extraordinary note of protest.