Erdogan: "Armenia is paying the price for Khojaly Massacre"
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that "Armenia is now paying the price for the Khojaly Massacre and will continue to pay."
The massacre involves the mass killing of over 200 Azerbaijani civilians by Armenian forces on 26 February 1992 in the town of Khojaly.
Responding to questions of Turkish pro-government media representatives on his way back from a meeting with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev after Baku's lightning offensive in the Armenian-populated Nagorno Karbakah, Erdogan said:
"Armenia is now paying the price for the Khojaly Massacre and will continue to pay, because one million Azerbaijanis migrated from Khojaly and other towns (...) Now, decades later, Azerbaijan has gotten even for that massacre. They did it in an entirely different way, and retrieved their lands."
Erdogan expressed strong support for the completion of the Zangezur trade corridor, a pivotal economic link connecting Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran.
Erdogan stressed the importance of establishing direct rail and road connections between Nakhchivan and other regions of Azerbaijan, asserting that this would significantly strengthen bilateral relations. He underscored that this enhanced connectivity could bridge vast distances more swiftly, emphasizing the need to make diligent efforts to open this corridor as soon as possible. The Turkish President highlighted that the realization of the corridor was not only of strategic importance but also an imperative that must be completed.
When discussing the potential benefits of the Zangezur corridor, Erdogan explained that it would facilitate direct transportation from Baku to Kars, significantly enhancing the bond between Turkey and Azerbaijan. He also noted that Iran had expressed positive signals regarding the corridor, indicating a willingness to allow its passage through Iranian territory.
"The establishment of direct rail and road links between Nakhchivan and other regions of Azerbaijan will strengthen our relationship. Thanks to this robust connection, we will achieve much more progress in various fields in the near future. Therefore, we will make every effort to open this corridor as soon as possible. The realization of this corridor is strategic and must be completed. Once this corridor is opened, a vehicle or train departing from Baku can directly reach Kars. The Turkey-Azerbaijan brotherhood will strengthen even further. It is gratifying that Iran has also shown positive signs in this regard," Erdogan stated.
The Zangezur corridor, a long-discussed project, aims to provide Azerbaijan with unimpeded access to Nakhchivan through Armenian territory. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan have consistently called for the implementation of this corridor, particularly since the conclusion of the Second Karabakh War in 2020.
Additionally, Erdogan asserted that Azerbaijan's military actions in the region had created a "window of opportunity" for progress and stability. He urged Armenia to demonstrate a strong will to move forward in the peace process with Azerbaijan, emphasizing that progress in Azerbaijan-Armenia relations would contribute significantly to regional normalization and the establishment of stability, peace, and prosperity in the South Caucasus.
"We expect Armenia to show a strong will instead of prolonging the process. Progress in the Azerbaijan-Armenia process will greatly accelerate regional normalization. We will continue to work with Azerbaijan to establish stability, peace, and prosperity in the South Caucasus," Erdogan added.