By Vafa Ismayilova
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan along with other high-ranking officials have congratulated Azerbaijan on the historic liberation of Shusha from the occupation of Armenian armed forces.
From the first days of the Armenian attacks against Azerbaijani civilians and forces that further escalated starting September 27, Turkey expressed support for Baku’s right to self-defence. While world powers have called for a sustainable cease-fire, Turkey has demanded the withdrawal of Armenia's forces from the Azerbaijani lands that have been under occupation for nearly three decades.
Erdogan expressed his feeling of pride over the liberation of Shusha.
"With a feeling of boundless pride I state that Shusha city has been liberated from occupation! President Aliyev said while addressing the nation. ‘Shusha is ours! Karabakh is ours!’ I cordially congratulate the entire Azerbaijani people on this occasion! I cordially congratulate all Shusha residents!" Erdogan said.
He added that Turkey will further support fraternal Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan has been enduring illegal occupation of its land for nearly 30 years and in the end is seeking the liberation of its territories,” the president said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also congratulated Azerbaijan and said that the glorious flag of Azerbaijan will fly forever in Shusha, the cradle of Azerbaijani culture.
"Live happily, Azerbaijan!" Cavusoglu added.
Furthermore, the Trukish government shared similar views.
“Azerbaijan’s achievements, including the liberation of Shusha city, make Turkey happy,” the Turkish government said.
It added that the Azerbaijani troops are giving a worthy response to the occupation forces in all directions of the front under President Ilham Aliyev’s command and by independently liberating its territories, actually fulfills the requirements of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on the unconditional withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from the Azerbaijani territories.
The Turkish Ministry of the National Defence also congratulated the Azerbaijani people.
“We congratulate the heroic Azerbaijani people on this occasion!" the ministry said.
“Our brothers - Azerbaijanis, after 28 years will be able to see how Khari-bulbul (Ophrys caucasica) blooms in Shusha, they will be able to breathe in its aroma,” the statement said.
The Turkish and the Pakistani embassies in Azerbaijan also expressed their congratulations.
Shusha, which was occupied by Armenian forces on May 8, 1992, has critical importance in liberating Nagorno-Karabakh, which is an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan. It is located on the road to Khankendi, the region's largest city.
Besides its strategic importance, Shusha is known as one of the symbols of Azerbaijani history and culture. Many prominent Azerbaijani musicians and scholars were born here.
Since the counter-offensive operations began on September 27, the Azerbaijani army liberated four city centres, three settlements and over 220 villages, as well as some strategic heights from the occupation of Armenian forces.
Ninety-two Azerbaijani civilians have been killed and hundreds of others have been injured in Armenia's indiscriminate missile attacks on Azerbaijani civilian settlements and cities since September 27.
About 20 per cent of Azerbaijan's territory – including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions – has been under Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
Four UN Security Council resolutions urge unconditional withdrawal of the invading forces from the occupied territories.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz