JEDDAH: French President Emmanuel Macron lashed out on Wednesday at Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “reckless and dangerous” backing of Azerbaijan’s attempt to retake the breakaway region of Nagorny-Karabakh.
Echoing earlier remarks by the Turkish president, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that Turkey would “do what is necessary” if Azerbaijan asked for military support in the conflict with Armenia.
“I have noted Turkey’s political statements, which I think are reckless and dangerous,” Macron said.
“France remains extremely concerned about the warlike comments that Turkey made … which essentially remove any inhibitions from Azerbaijan in what would be a reconquest of northern Karabakh. That we will not accept.”
He also appeared to voice support for Yerevan: “I say to Armenia and to the Armenians, France will play its role.”
But Macron also said it was too soon to speak of a regional conflict.
He said he would discuss the tensions with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday evening and US President Donald Trump on Thursday before reporting on the situation to the European Council of EU leaders.
Armenia and Azerbaijan blame each other for fierce clashes that erupted on Sunday and have caused nearly 100 deaths. Armenian media said three civilians were killed and several wounded by shelling on Wednesday in Martakert.
One person was killed and three wounded by Armenian fire on Horadiz in southern Azerbaijan, the Azeri prosecutor’s office said, raising Azeri civilian deaths to 15.
Azerbaijan released footage showing smoke rising from inside Nagorno-Karabakh as it was pounded by Azeri artillery. Photographs taken in the Azeri town of Terter showed people taking cover in dugouts, and buildings damaged by Armenian shells.
Azerbaijan said ethnic Armenian forces attempted to recover lost ground by launching counterattacks in the direction of Madagiz, but Azeri forces repelled the attack.
Armenia said the Azeri army had been shelling the whole front line during the night.