President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urges the EU to take a “consistent stance” on Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and says that Armenia had endangered Europe's energy supplies by attacking parts of Azerbaijan.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and EU Council President Charles Michel pose in Brussels, Belgium, March 9, 2020.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and EU Council President Charles Michel pose in Brussels, Belgium, March 9, 2020. (Reuters)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with EU Council President Charles Michel and discussed Turkish-EU relations, developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, and regional issues.

In a phone call on late Monday, President Erdogan urged the EU to take a “consistent stance” on Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, according to a statement by Turkey’s Communications Directorate.

Erdogan said that Armenia had endangered Europe's energy supplies by attacking the Azerbaijani city of Ganja along with the Tovuz region, where natural gas and oil pipelines and transportation lines are located.

READ MORE: Azerbaijan: Armenia continues to attack civilian areas

Erdogan urged Charles Michel to work to revitalise Turkish-EU relations, EU fulfilment of its obligations under the 2016 refugee deal, and make progress on updating the Customs Union and visa liberalisation.

Greece continues to escalate the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean, he said, adding that Ankara expects concrete steps from the EU to convene the Eastern Mediterranean conference it proposed.

READ MORE: Turkey sends Oruc Reis seismic vessel back to East Med

Latest fighting

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.

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 was agreed to in 1994.

Recent clashes began on September 27, when Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region.

Since then Armenia has continued attacks on civilians, residential areas and Azerbaijani forces.

The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces has left hundreds of people dead in the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over occupied Karabakh.

Many world powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have urged a new cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku's right to self-defence and demanded a withdrawal of Armenia's occupying forces.

Turkish, Russian defence chiefs talk Caucasus conflict

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar told his Russian counterpart in a phone call on Monday that Armenia needs to stop attacks targeting civilian settlements in violation of a new cease-fire and leave occupied Azerbaijani territories.

Akar and Russia’s Sergey Shoygu discussed Armenian attacks on Azerbaijan and ongoing developments in Libya and Idlib, northwestern Syria, said a Turkish Defence Ministry statement.

Akar added that Azerbaijan would not wait another 30 years for a resolution, said the statement.

A temporary humanitarian cease-fire was declared on Saturday, but it has been marred by Armenian violations, according to Azerbaijan.

READ MORE: How Russia is helping Armenia portray the Azerbaijan clash as a holy war

Russia has a military base in Armenia and counts Yerevan as an ally in the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).

However, the Kremlin has held back from Armenia's encouragement that it become involved, saying the CSTO treaty does not extend to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Iran, which has warm relations with Armenia and is wary of Baku's military cooperation with Israel, has also expressed regret "over the violation of the announced ceasefire," urging both sides to resume talks.

Source: AA