Struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh - result of inability of OSCE MG - Erdogan
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the "inability" of an international mediation group to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for recent deadly clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Anadolu Agency reported.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Saturday's grand opening of a Turkish mosque in the Washington D.C. area, Erdogan said Turkey's prayers were with the families of Azerbaijani soldiers who lost their lives in two days of fighting with Armenian forces.
The clashes are over the Karabakh region which has been a source of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan for years.
"The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been occupied [by Armenia] for many years, is a result of the inability of the Minsk Group," Erdogan said, referring to the international organization co-chaired by Russia, the U.S. and France.
The group's aim is to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
"If the Minsk Group had taken fair and decisive steps over this, we wouldn't have seen this incident happening right now," Erdogan said.
The Minsk Group says it leads the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)'s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Erdogan said that Turkey would support Azerbaijan to the end, adding that he had raised the issue during a two-day nuclear security summit which ended on Friday in the U.S. capital.
"I asked the world to stay sensitive over Armenia's bad intentions - especially over the nuclear weapons," the president said.
In a Twitter post later on Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he had called his Azerbaijani counterpart to also offer his condolences over Baku's soldiers martyred during the latest clashes.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.