Turkish urges South Africa to support Nagorno-Karabakh peace

Daily Sabah
Cyril Ramaphosa calls for a peaceful resolution

A Turkish diplomat has asked South Africa to support Turkey's efforts in promoting a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through mediation, Daily Sabah writes in the article Turkish envoy urges South Africa to support Nagorno-Karabakh peace. In an opinion piece published by the online publication, Daily Maverick, Elif Çomoğlu Ülgen, Turkey's ambassador to Pretoria, urged South Africa to support Azerbaijan whose land has been occupied by Armenia. Ülgen said South Africa was better suited to mediate the conflict based on its own history of fighting for justice and freedom.

"A world without justice cannot be a safe place for anyone. It only produces more conflict and suffering. And it makes everyone unsafe and insecure,'' the diplomat wrote. She said when the rainbow nation was elected to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member in 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa stressed in his speech that "South Africa's tenure will be guided by its commitment to resolve regional, global and international conflicts." During his speech in September, Ramaphosa told the Security Council: "South Africa calls on all parties to armed conflict to use this opportunity to work toward a peaceful resolution." The diplomat said it was due to this statement that she sought South Africa's support for Turkey in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

She said not a single shot had been fired toward Armenian territory, and "all the fighting has actually taken place within Azerbaijan's internationally recognized borders." "First and foremost, one must set the record straight: Illegal Armenian occupation lies at the heart of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,'' the diplomat stated.

Ülgen said Armenia has occupied 20% of Azerbaijan's territory for 30 years, despite four UNSC resolutions and many U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions, which call for "the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of occupying Armenian forces."

The diplomat further said the Armenian occupation has caused profound human suffering, displacing a million Azerbaijanis desperate to return to their homes which remain under Armenian occupation. Ülgen also refuted Armenian campaigns that seek to present Turkey as a part of the recent hostilities.

"Turkey has not been a party to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and was not involved in the recent clashes,'' she said, adding that Armenia's stance is the greatest obstacle to achieving peace and stability in the South Caucasus.

"It (Armenia) does not want to peacefully coexist with its neighbors nor does it want a negotiated settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It only wants to appear negotiating in order to consolidate its illegal gains,'' she said. Ülgen said Turkey continues to reiterate its support to Azerbaijan. "This support is not only based on Turkey's special bonds with Azerbaijan, but it is also based on international law," she said. She added that in an armed conflict one cannot treat both sides equally when it is clear who the aggressor is.

"It is our duty to support starting meaningful negotiations to ensure the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from illegally occupied Azerbaijani territories in line with relevant UNSC resolutions,'' she concluded.

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