DUBAI: Almost half of Arab News readers think Turkey is behind the escalation of conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, a Twitter poll showed.
About a quarter of readers also believe that while Turkey may not have a direct hand in the flare-up between the Caucasus neighbors over the contentious Nagorno-Karabakh region, Ankara however stands to benefit from it. About a quarter of Arab News readers meanwhile said they had no knowledge of Turkey’s involvement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first world leader to wade into the conflict, not to soothe tensions between the warring parties but to declare his all-out support of the Azerbaijanis.
Turkey provides weapons and training to Azerbaijan, but has denied Armenia’s claims that it was sending Syrian fighters and F-16 combat jets to assist Azerbaijani forces in the fighting.
A full-scale war between the former Soviet republics could drag in other powers such as Russia, which has a defense pact with Armenia, whose policy of neutrality over the simmering conflict according to experts was being tested by Ankara’s supposed involvement.
Nagorno-Karabakh was a designated autonomous region within Azerbaijan during the Soviet era. It claimed independence from Azerbaijan in 1991, about three months before the Soviet Union’s collapse.
A full-scale war that broke out in 1992 killed an estimated 30,000 people.
By the time the war ended in 1994, Armenian forces not only held Nagorno-Karabakh itself but substantial areas outside the territory’s formal borders.
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