YEREVAN — Armenia on Wednesday condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest pro-Azerbaijani statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and scoffed at his claims that the Turkish state has never massacred civilians.
Speaking at a summit of Turkic nations in Baku earlier this week, Erdogan again decried Armenian “occupation” of Karabakh and other “ancient lands” of Azerbaijan. “We will do our best to ensure the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan,” he was reported to say.
For his part, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev described Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province, also known as Zangezur, as “historically Azerbaijani” territory. Aliyev claimed at the summit that its “transfer to Armenia had led to a geographic separation of the Turkic world.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry condemned Aliyev’s “pan-Turkist” statement as a further manifestation of Azerbaijani territorial claims to Armenia.
“Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s distorted perceptions of and approaches to regional security based on racism and discrimination hinder peaceful resolution of conflicts and contribute to instability in and outside the region,” the ministry spokeswoman, Anna Naghdalyan, said in written comments.
“All this underlines the importance of our priority to ensure the security of the Armenian people in the region,” she added.
Turkey has lent full and unconditional support to Azerbaijan throughout the Karabakh conflict. Successive Turkish governments have made the normalization of Turkey’s relations with Armenia conditional on a Karabakh settlement acceptable to Baku. Yerevan rejects these preconditions.
Naghdalyan also shrugged off Erdogan’s separate claims that “Turkey has never committed any civilian massacre in its history.” “After Turkey’s president tried to justify in his statement on April 24 the  genocide of the Armenian people perpetrated in their historical homeland, any further statements by him on this subject do not deserve a response,” she said.
Erdogan was responding to growing international criticism of Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria and resulting human rights abuses reported by international media. “If you’re looking for civilian massacres, look at Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nagorno-Karabakh and Bosnia,” he said earlier on Wednesday.
The Armenian government has strongly condemned the Turkish invasion and expressed serious concern over the safety of Syrian Armenians and other civilians affected by it.