Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar met with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in Shusha to participate in celebrations marking the defeat of Armenia in the Karabakh war of 2020.

Akar said Turkey will continue to strive for peace, tranquility, and stability in the region as part of its historical responsibility.
Akar said Turkey will continue to strive for peace, tranquility, and stability in the region as part of its historical responsibility. (AA)

Turkey's National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar is in Azerbaijan with top military officers to participate in celebrations of the country's first anniversary of the Karabakh war victory.

Welcomed by Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and other officials in capital Baku on Monday, Akar and the officers were taken to Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center to join a Victory Day ceremony.

Speaking at the ceremony, Akar said, “Victory has been won but a new struggle has begun to ensure a permanent peace that will bring stability to the Caucasus after many years.”

Earlier on Monday in Shusha, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said the country was able to "mobilise all our forces and kick the enemy out," referring to Armenian militias that occupied Karabakh since 1991. "Armenia is now a defeated state."

'Armenia should abandon hostility'

Aliyev and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have displayed an extremely constructive approach to bequeath peace to future generations, and have opened the door to a new era based on stability and cooperation, Akar noted.

“Everyone needs to know that a future cannot be built on grudge and hatred. Armenia should abandon hostility and look to the future,” he said.

Hasanov said victory in the Karabakh war is one of the most magnificent pages in Azerbaijan’s history.

During and after the war, he said, Azerbaijan was bolstered by the political and moral support shown at the highest levels by "brotherly" country Turkey.

Turkish defence chief in liberated Shusha

Akar and military officials later visited Shusha, which was liberated from Armenian occupation after 28 years in November. 

The Turkish delegation was received by Aliyev.

In a meeting with the president, which was also attended by Hasanov, Akar emphasized that Turkey-Azerbaijan cooperation will continue to grow.

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Liberation of Karabakh

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

New clashes erupted on September 27, 2020.

During the 44-day war, Azerbaijan retook several cities and 300 settlements and villages occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.

The fighting ended with a Russian-brokered agreement on November 10, 2020, with the ceasefire seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia.

Two months later, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia signed a pact to develop economic ties and infrastructure to benefit the entire region.

READ MORE: Erdogan visits Azerbaijan for third time since Karabakh liberation

Source: AA