Russia and Turkey disagree on independent Turkish base in Nagorno-Karabakh
Disagreements have arose between Russia and Turkey over Turkish plans to open a separate observation post in Azerbaijan, an anonymous source told Reuters on Monday.
The parameters of the peacekeeping mission agreed on by Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan on November 10 provided for a 2,000 strong Russian contingent that would patrol the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey was not a party to the agreement between the three former Soviet states, but it was allowed to send a team of observers at a Russian monitoring centre on Azerbaijani territory.
Last week, the Turkish parliament approved a one year mandate for the observation mission and Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said over the weekend that Turkish troops are ready to deploy after completing the necessary training.
According to the Reuters source, Russia and Turkey still have not agreed on the parameters of the monitoring mission, but Turkey has pushed for its own independent observation post.
"The biggest difference of opinion right now is the observation post Turkey will establish on Azerbaijan's lands," the Turkish source told Reuters.
"Russia thinks it is unnecessary for Turkey to establish an observation post on the region independent of the joint centre. However this is necessary for Turkey," they continued.
There has long been a rumoured Turkish base already in landlocked Nakhichivan province that has been denied by both Turkey and Azerbaijan. Turkish foreign policy advisor Ibrahim Kalin was reported to have told NTV that connecting Nakhchivan to mainland Azerbaijan was "at least as valuable as the liberation of Karabakh."
Russia has persistently denied that Turkish troops will be included under the current agreement. President Vladimir Putin said in an interview last week that he saw the move as unnecessarily provocative to Armenian interests and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ruled this out as well shortly after the truce agreement.
Armenia and Azerbaijan renewed fighting over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in late September. After six weeks of clashes, Azerbaijan captured the strategic town of Shusha and Armenian leaders with Russian support settled for a truce with Baku.