Putin, Erdoğan discuss joint control centre for Nagorno-Karabakh

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed joint measures to ensure a ceasefire in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday, Russian news agency TASS reported.

The two regional powers signed a memorandum on the establishment of a ceasefire control centre in Nagorno-Karabakh following discussions between defence ministers Sergey Shoygu and Hulusi Akar on Nov. 11.

Reporting the telephone conversation between the two leaders, Erdoğan’s office said he “expressed hope that a joint center, to be set up by Turkey together with Russia in order to observe and monitor [the implementation of ceasefire], will start operations within the shortest possible timeframe as part of the effort to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and ensure stability in the region on the permanent basis.”

The Kremlin’s press service said that the two presidents “discussed in detail the implementation of the agreements committed to paper in the November 9 joint statement of the Russian and Azerbaijani presidents and the Armenian prime minister on Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The Turkish government read out of the call stated that, “In the course of the talks, [the leaders] discussed steps to improve relations between the two countries, first of all to increase the trade turnover between Turkey and Russia. Events in Nagorno Karabakh, Syria and Libya were also discussed.”

President Erdoğan said in the call that the centre should be established as soon as possible, “as part of the steps taken to solve Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and bring lasting stability to the region,” according to Turkey’s Communications Directorate.

Last week the Turkish parliament approved a troop deployment to Azerbaijan to uphold the ceasefire. Russian officials have said that Ankara’s involvement would be limited to the monitoring centre on Azerbaijani soil, and that Turkish peacekeepers would not go to Nagorno-Karabakh.

About 2,000 Russian troops are also being deployed to Azerbaijan. Turkish pro-government news site Daily Sabah reported that a protest opposing the presence of Russian troops in the country was held in Baku.