“Being undeterred in continuing its efforts for a … normalization in the region in parallel to the maintenance of initiatives to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute on different platforms, Turkey deplores this action [elections] which means a new sort of violation of Azerbaijan's political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the ministry declared in a statement released on Wednesday.
Stating that such elections would be a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) principles, the Foreign Ministry claimed that these are “just another new example of efforts to unilaterally legitimize the status quo going against international law” in the disputed region.
The so-called independent government controlling the region is scheduled to hold presidential elections on Thursday.
The territory is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it is under control of a de facto independent but unrecognized Armenia-backed government. The Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan turned into a war after the Armenian invasion in 1991. A cease-fire that persists to this day was declared in 1994. Supporting its strategic ally Azerbaijan, Turkey closed its borders with Armenia in an effort to pressure Armenia to respect the borders of its neighbors.
Although there have been efforts to resolve the dispute through the Minsk Group initiative, there has so far been almost no progress. The Minsk Group, an OSCE initiative, was established in 1992 to help resolve the dispute, but no progress from the group's efforts has been reported so far.