Turkish mission in US slams LA mayor's Karabakh remarks

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

ANKARA (AA) – The Turkish mission in Los Angeles blasted the city mayor for supporting the Armenian community over ongoing tensions in the Upper Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, accusing him of "misinforming the public".

"Our records clearly show that Los Angeles is also home to a significant Turkish American community, which the elected administrators of this city apparently choose to overlook," Turkish Consul General Can Oguz said in a statement late Sunday. "Hardworking Turkish Americans are an asset to this city, to California and to the United States."

Oguz urged the local administrators to remember that "they need to take into account the sensitivities and safety of the Turkish Americans of Los Angeles. They should also take pride in serving this honorable community.

"Furthermore, rather than misinforming the public by spreading unsubstantiated and manipulated reports about Turkey's relations with Azerbaijan, the leaders of this city would be acting more responsibly and would be in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions, if they also called for an immediate and unconditional end to the illegal occupation of the Azerbaijani territories. This continued illegal occupation despite several UN resolutions is the main source of instability in the region," he said.

Oguz's remarks came in response to Mayor Eric Garcetti who said Sunday on Twitter: "L.A. is proud to be home to the largest Armenian diaspora. We stand with the people of Armenia.

"I urge our leaders in Washington to conduct the sustained and rigorous diplomacy necessary to bring peace to the Artsakh region. Turkey must disengage," he added.

The so-called Artsakh LA mayor referred to is a self-proclaimed republic unrecognized by any sovereign state, including Armenia and the US. The region is considered by the UN and international law to be part of Azerbaijan's Karabakh.

– Upper Karabakh conflict

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

Multiple UN resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.

The OSCE Minsk Group — co-chaired by France, Russia and the US — was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed upon in 1994.

Many world powers, including Russia, France and the US, have urged an immediate cease-fire after Azerbaijan army's gains on the field. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku's right to self-defense and its sovereignty over occupied territories.

Azerbaijan has so far liberated more than 20 villages in the Upper Karabakh since the eruption of new clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani armies late September.