Turkish Minister Marks 1992 Khojaly Massacre
Turkey will never forget Khojaly, Mevlut Cavusoglu says on eve of 25th anniversary of occupied-Karabakh massacre
"We never forgot Khojaly and will [never] forget," Cavusoglu told an international conference entitled Khojaly Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and Terrorism, in the Turkish capital Ankara.
Cavusoglu said Turkey and Azerbaijan would continue to explain the Khojaly massacre to the world.
"Armenia does not want to face realities, but the Khojaly massacre is real," Cavusoglu said. He added it happened 25 years ago "under the world's eyes".
The massacre on Feb. 25-26, 1992, is regarded as one of the bloodiest and most controversial incidents of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of the now-occupied Karabakh region.
Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in Karabakh on Feb. 26 after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks, assisted by an infantry regiment.
The two-hour offensive killed 613 Azeri citizens, including 116 women and 63 children and critically injured 487 others, according to Azerbaijani figures.
Cavusoglu said the "most important" problem for the stability of the region was that 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory was occupied by Armenia.
Addressing the conference, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said this was a "ruthless" example of ethnic cleansing and a genocide policy by Armenia against Azerbaijan.
"The Khojaly genocide was followed by massive flagrant violations of norms and principles of international law, human rights and fundamental freedoms," he added.
Mammadyarov said many states and international organizations recognized the Khojaly "tragedy" as a genocide.
"The existence of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict undermines peace, security, stability and comprehensive economic development of the region," he said.
The minister said Azerbaijan remained "violated" for decades due to what he described as Armenian aggression.
"Azerbaijan supports peace and is willing to resolve the conflict by peaceful means.
“Our position remains unchanged. The conflict must be resolved on the basis of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the inviolability of internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan," he added.
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