Erdogan to meet Azerbaijan president Monday: Turkish presidency

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ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet his counterpart Ilham Aliyev in the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan on Monday, the Turkish presidency said on Sunday.

The “latest developments” in Nagorno-Karabakh will be at the heart of the meeting, the presidency said in a statement.

The meeting follows a lightning Azerbaijani offensive which recaptured the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, mainly populated by ethnic Armenians.

The Turkish president has repeatedly expressed his support for Azerbaijan’s army this week.

Azerbaijan on Thursday held a first round of “reintegration” talks with the ethnic-Armenian rebels after they agreed to lay down their arms in the face of the day-long military assault.

Some experts believe Azerbaijan could now seek to push its advantage and launch operations in southern Armenia to create territorial continuity with the Nakhchivan exclave.

Allies Turkey and Azerbaijan had said in June they wanted to step up efforts to open a land corridor linking Turkey to Azerbaijan’s main territory via Nakhchivan and Armenia, a longstanding and complex project.

Meanwhile, the first group of Nagorno-Karabakh refugees since Azerbaijan’s lighting assault against the separatist region entered Armenia on Sunday, an AFP team at the border said.

The group of a few dozen people were questioned by Azerbaijani border guards before entering the Armenian village of Kornidzor, where they were registered by Armenian officials.

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