In its latest propaganda attempt to manipulate public opinion amid the ongoing clashes with Azerbaijan over the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Armenian press has been using photos of some Turkish celebrities in military uniforms while reporting the casualties inflicted on the Azerbaijani army.
In one of these articles, the Public Radio of Armenia's official Turkish-language website used photos of famous Turkish pop singer Serdar Ortaç in a military uniform among the Azerbaijani soldiers killed in recent clashes.
In the articles “The number of Azerbaijani soldiers killed by days” and “Tough battles continue in the south,” the website used Ortaç’s photos taken 20 years ago during his compulsory military service in the Turkish army.
Ortaç had recently stated that he would volunteer to fight for Azerbaijan in the ongoing clashes if needed.
The website also used photos of Turkish actor Alp Kırşan, Turkish famous chef and restaurateur Burak Özdemir and Turkish Russian actor and model Andrey Polyanin in various articles related to the Nagorno-Karabakh clashes.
Serving for the Turkish army during his mandatory military service, Polyanin had said: “Turkey is my second home. If needed, I will fight shoulder to shoulder along with Turkish soldiers.”
Nagorno-Karabakh has seen heavy fighting over recent weeks, which has claimed the lives of at least 600 people, including civilians. The region is considered by the United Nations and international law to be part of Azerbaijan.
The clashes began on Sept. 27 when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region, leading to casualties.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. Around 20% of Azerbaijan's territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
Multiple U.N. resolutions, as well as many international organizations, have demanded the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
The Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia and the U.S. – was set up in 1992 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to find a peaceful solution to the conflict but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed upon in 1994.
Many world powers, including Russia, France and the U.S., have urged a new cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku's right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia's occupying forces.