Turkish President Erdogan demands Armenia put an end to its "occupation" of the Karabakh region as deadly clashes with Azerbaijan continue on the second day.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Dolmabahce in Istanbul, Turkey. September 28, 2020.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Dolmabahce in Istanbul, Turkey. September 28, 2020. (AA)

Tukey says Armenia should immediately withdraw from Azerbaijan's lands that it is occupying, calling for an end to the crisis in occupied Karabakh, a region of Azerbaijan controlled by Armenians.

"The time has come for the crisis in the region that started with the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh to be put to an end," Erdogan said during a symposium on international maritime law and the eastern Mediterranean in Istanbul.

"Once Armenia immediately leaves the territory it is occupying, the region will return to peace and harmony," he said.

Erdogan blamed Yerevan for starting the latest escalation, accusing the United States, Russia, and France of failing to properly address the conflict in so-called "Minsk Group" talks.

"They basically did everything they could to not resolve the issue," Erdogan said. 

"Now Azerbaijan must take matters into its own hands."

Second day of fighting 

Azerbaijani and Armenian forces battled for a second day on Monday after dozens were killed in an outbreak of heavy fighting that has raised fears of an all-out war between the longtime enemies.

At least 28 members of Armenian forces were reported killed in clashes with Azerbaijani troops, bringing Armenia's military death toll to 59.

The fighting reportedly involved airpower, missiles, and, heavy armour. 

The total death toll rose to 68 including nine civilian deaths: seven in Azerbaijan and two on the Armenian side.

READ MORE: Azerbaijan issues final warning to Armenia in Karabakh clashes

Tense relations

Relations between the two former Soviet nations have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied the Karabakh region, an internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan.

The clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the heaviest since 2016, have reignited concern over stability in the South Caucasus region, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets.

France, Russia, and the United States have mediated peace efforts as the "Minsk Group" but the last big push for a peace deal collapsed in 2010.

READ MORE: Calls grow for Azerbaijan, Armenia to end fighting over occupied Karabakh

Source: TRTWorld and agencies