One general and 38 military staff will be deployed to the joint centre from Turkish side to monitor truce in the region, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar says.

In this December 31, 2020 file photo, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar makes a speech as he attends a military ceremony in Baku, Azerbaijan.
In this December 31, 2020 file photo, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar makes a speech as he attends a military ceremony in Baku, Azerbaijan. (AA)

The Turkish defence minister has announced the completion of the construction of the Turkish-Russian joint monitoring centre in Upper Karabakh, saying it will become operational as of Saturday. 

Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday that he has discussed matters of defence and security with his Azerbaijani counterpart Zakir Hasanov over the phone. 

Akar recalled a memorandum of understanding to set up a joint centre to monitor the peace deal on Azerbaijani territories liberated from Armenia's occupation was signed with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu on November 11, 2020.

"The works on establishing the joint center has been completed. The joint center, where Turkish and Russian soldiers are to operate, will start its activities tomorrow," he said.

Noting that the latest developments were discussed with Hasanov, Akar said, "We believe that the joint centre, where one general and 38 of our staff are to operate, will make great contributions to the continuity of the ceasefire and to ensuring peace and stability in the region."

Akar vowed to continue to defend the rights of Azerbaijani people, and said, "We [Turkey] have sided with our Azerbaijani brothers/sisters in line with the concept of one nation and two states, and we will continue to do so."

READ MORE: Azerbaijan must seek a solution for Russian troops on its territory

End of decades-long Armenian occupation

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

When new clashes erupted on September 27, 2020, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian ceasefire agreements.

During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the nearly three-decade-long occupation.

Despite the November 10 deal ending the conflict, the Armenian army several times violated the agreement and killed several Azerbaijani soldiers and a civilian, according to the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry.

The truce is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces have been withdrawing in line with the agreement.

READ MORE: Victors of the Karabakh war: Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey

Source: AA