Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar also demanded Armenia's retreat from the occupied Azerbaijani territories to achieve peace and stability in the region.

Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar says the country stands by its Azerbaijani brothers in defending their native land.
Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar says the country stands by its Azerbaijani brothers in defending their native land. (AA)

Reiterating Turkey's full support for Azerbaijan over the occupied Karabakh conflict, the country's defence minister has urged Armenia to immediately send back terrorists brought into the occupied region from abroad.

"Armenia must stop its attacks immediately and send back the mercenaries and terrorists they brought from abroad and evacuate the Azerbaijani territories they occupied," Hulusi Akar told Anadolu Agency on Monday. 

He said Turkey stands by its Azerbaijani brothers in defending their native land, adding that Armenia must retreat from the occupied Azerbaijani territories to achieve peace and stability in the region.

 "Turkey-Azerbaijan ties are [based on the principle of] 'one nation, two states' which everyone should know of. We are always one and together in sadness and happiness," he said.

READ MORE: Death toll climbs as Azerbaijan, Armenia continue fighting on day two

Akar criticised those who now call for an "immediate ceasefire" although they were silent when Armenia occupied Azerbaijani territories and massacred its people.

 "Those who now want a peaceful solution, an immediate cease-fire and a dialogue now; where were they for 30 years when Nagorno-Karabakh and 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories were under occupation, when thousands of innocent people were massacred in Khojaly with barbarism; children, women and elderly people, and millions of people were displaced from their homes."

Border clashes broke out early on Sunday when Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions, leading to casualties. 

Azerbaijan's parliament declared a state of war in some of its cities and regions following Armenia's border violations and attacks in the occupied Karabakh region.

At least 28 members of the Armenian forces were killed in clashes with Azerbaijani troops, authorities in the occupied Karabakh region said, bringing their military death toll to 59.

The combined reported death toll from both sides rose to 68, including nine civilian deaths: seven in Azerbaijan and two Armenians.

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

Azerbaijan hails Turkish support

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for support against Armenia's border violations in the occupied region.

Hikmet Hajiyev, assistant to the president and foreign policy chief for Azerbaijan's Presidency, said Baku welcomed Erdogan’s remarks calling on Armenia to immediately end the occupation of Azerbaijani territories. 

Turkey, especially Erdogan, has strongly condemned the attack and shown absolute support, Hajiyev said.

Upper Karabakh conflict

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

Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.

The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed upon in 1994.

France, Russia and NATO, among others, have urged an immediate halt to clashes in the occupied region.

READ MORE: Erdogan to Armenia: End 'occupation' of Karabakh

Source: TRTWorld and agencies