Ankara "closely" follows the debates on the southern Caucasus’ Lachin road, understands Azerbaijan's "legitimate concerns," and expects Armenia to avoid "provocative steps," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Monday, APA's Istanbul correspondent reports.
"Türkiye has been following the longstanding debates on the Lachin road closely and understands Azerbaijan's legitimate concerns on the issue.
"Unfortunately, these concerns that Azerbaijan has voiced loudly for a long time were not taken into account, and as a result, Azerbaijan took the measures it deems appropriate within the framework of its sovereign rights," the ministry said in a statement.
Azerbaijan has called on countries and international organizations that have made anti-Azerbaijani statements to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, especially concerning developments in Karabakh and the Lachin road, the only land route giving Armenia access to the Karabakh region.
Despite ongoing talks on a peace agreement following a war in 2020, tensions between Baku and Yerevan have risen in recent months concerning the Lachin road, as well as Azerbaijan’s establishment of a border checkpoint on the road.
There is no justification for the criticisms against Azerbaijan regarding the Lachin road, Türkiye said, as the ministry statement added that Baku is making "maximum efforts" in good faith with respect to humanitarian considerations, including medical transportation.
"Our expectation from Armenia is to avoid provocative steps, to recognize Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty, to support the use of 'Agdam-Khankendi' and other alternative ways to meet the needs of the Armenian population in Karabakh, as well as to support efforts to reintegrate the Armenian population of Azerbaijan," the ministry said.
Türkiye believes that to ensure peace and stability in the region, the territorial integrity, sovereignty and humanitarian efforts of Azerbaijan should be supported and actions that aggravate the situation should be avoided, it added.