Turkey and Russia continue to work on the Nagorno-Karabakh peace agreement, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a meeting with ministry officials and commanders Tuesday.
Akar spoke at the videoconference meeting attended by deputy defense ministers Yunus Emre Karaosmanoğlu and Alparslan Kavaklıoğlu, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and commanders-in-chief of the Turkish military.
Referring to the recently signed peace deal, Akar said the framework needs properly defined terms.
Akar also criticized Armenians for destroying homes and forests as they leave the occupied lands to allow Azerbaijani owners to return after about three decades.
Turkey, which threw its weight behind its ally Azerbaijan in the conflict, has been engaged in talks with Russia for a role in monitoring the cease-fire that ended six weeks of intense fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Russian and Turkish defense ministers signed a memorandum last week to create a joint monitoring center in Azerbaijan. Russia is sending about 2,000 peacekeeping troops under a five-year mandate.
The Russian-brokered agreement states that a "peacekeeping center is being deployed to control the cease-fire" but does not specify its formal role.
Regarding Cyprus, Akar said the security of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is necessary to ensure prosperity.
“We wish and hope for a permanent solution through peaceful and political tools,” Akar said, adding that the Greek Cypriots need to give up their uncompromising stance, accept Turkish existence and acknowledge the fact that they are also sovereign and equal elements on the island.
Noting that Turkey will continue to fulfill its responsibilities as the guarantor of TRNC, Akar said Ankara will not allow any sort of fait accompli.
In 1974, Turkish military forces intervened on the island following a Greek-inspired coup.
Turkey's military intervention stopped the yearslong persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots. The TRNC was established in 1983 on the northern tier of the island and is only recognized by Turkey. The country has faced an ongoing embargo on commerce, transportation and culture ever since.
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