Armenian Fighter Jet 'Shot Down By Turkey' While Fighting Intensifies Between Azerbaijan And Armenia

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Armenian Fighter Jet 'Shot Down By Turkey' While Fighting Intensifies Between Azerbaijan And Armenia

Photos: REUTERS

Fierce fighting is ongoing between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, known as 'Artsakh', in Armenia. The clashes have now lasted days, and fears of a wider escalation have risen after it was revealed that an Armenian fighter jet had been shot down by Turkey.

It is thought that within the last few days, over 100 individuals may have been killed and, video footage released by both Azerbaijan and Armenia has shown tanks being hit with missiles and soldiers exchanging fire.

The Artsakh region exists within what is legally recognised as part of Azerbaijani territory however, it is populated mostly by Armenian Christians who say they face discrimination as part of the wider Azerbaijani state, which is predominantly Muslim. Many of these Armenian Christians have the express desire to incorporate the region into Armenia, which they regard as their national homeland.

This is hardly the first time that a fight over this territory has taken place. The Nagorno-Karabakh War, referred to in Armenia as the Artsakh Liberation War, raged from the late 1980s, as both Armenia and Azerbaijan sought independence from the Soviet Union, up until 1994. In the conflict, tens of thousands are thought to have perished, including a large number of civilians, and as many as 1 million people were displaced. The conflict resulted in an Armenian victory, and while Armenia does hold effective sway over what happens within the enclave, the area continues to be recognised as a legal part of Azerbaijan by the international community.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Armenia to immediately end its "occupation" of the area and withdraw its forces, something Armenia says would result in the ethnic Armenians being left unprotected. Indeed, just last week, it was revealed that the Turkish state has overseen the transportation of proxy-military forces that have been fighting in Libya and Syria to assist in the Azerbaijani offensive. Turkey sees Azerbaijan as an Islamic ally.

The Turkish downing of an Armenian jet is bad enough in itself, but within the historical context, the act could be seen as a deep provocation due to the long bloody history between the two countries. In 1915, the Turkish state, then existing as the Ottoman Empire, conducted a genocide of 1.5 million Armenian civilians. One of the worst crimes against humanity of the 20th century. To this day, the Turkish state refuses to recognise that the genocide occurred.

Russia, with whom Armenia and Azerbaijan have close ties, has called for an immediate ceasefire and a secession of hostilities.

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Thinking Humanity: Armenian Fighter Jet 'Shot Down By Turkey' While Fighting Intensifies Between Azerbaijan And Armenia
Armenian Fighter Jet 'Shot Down By Turkey' While Fighting Intensifies Between Azerbaijan And Armenia
Fierce fighting is ongoing between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, known as Artsakh in Armenia.
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