WASHINGTON, DC (The Hill) — Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday called for the Trump administration to demand Turkey stay out of the escalating conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karabakh.

The former vice president also called on the administration to ask the opposing countries to de-escalate the situation.

“With casualties rapidly mounting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, the Trump Administration needs to call the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan immediately to de-escalate the situation. It must also demand others — like Turkey — stay out of this conflict,” Biden wrote on Twitter.

The statement marks a sharp rebuke of Turkey from Biden hours ahead of the first debate of the 2020 presidential race. His statement is also a preview of how the Democratic nominee may confront Ankara should he win the election in November.

Biden’s statement stands in sharp contrast to President Trump’s more restrained response on the outbreak of heavy fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the State Department’s veiled reference to Turkey as an “external party” that threatens to exacerbate tensions.

Trump is also known for his effusive praise of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan despite the Turkish leader’s aggressive behavior in international conflicts and against U.S. interests.

Biden’s call echoes other statements by Democratic lawmakers who are pushing for the Trump administration to halt military sales to Azerbaijan and demanding accountability for Turkish interference.

Trump said on Sunday that he was watching the situation “very strongly” and would work to try to stop the fighting.

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