More than 3,000 soldiers took part in the military parade as the Turkish president reaffirms the alliance and condemns Armenia.
A military parade was held in the Azerbaijani capital on Thursday to celebrate the peace agreement with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh which saw Azerbaijan retake much of the breakaway region as well as surrounding areas.
The deal took place exactly one month ago and ended six weeks of heavy fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh. It was seen as a big victory in Azerbaijan, but sparked mass protests in Armenia, with opposition supporters demanding the resignation of the country’s prime minister for his handling of the conflict.
Nagorno-Karabakh is located in Azerbaijan but has been under the control of Armenian-based forces backed by Armenia since a war led to a ceasefire in 1994. This war left Nagorno-Karabakh itself. even and a vast surrounding territory in the hands of the Armenians.
More than 3,000 soldiers took part in the parade on Thursday and dozens of military vehicles passed through Baku. A flight of helicopters and fighter jets completed the event.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the parade. Turkey strongly supported Azerbaijan during the conflict.
A Turkish commando brigade took part in the parade in which Turkish drones were also exposed. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev thanked Turkey for its support in his speech.
“From the early hours of the war, we felt Turkey’s support,” Aliyev said. “It is an example of our unity, of our fraternity.” The Azerbaijani president declared that the country was able to “restore historical justice” and accused Armenia of having started the fighting.
Erdogan in his speech also targeted Armenia and expressed the hope that the country would “learn lessons” from the defeat and take steps that would pave the way for a new era in the region.
“We hope the Armenian leadership will carefully assess this and take courageous steps to build a future based on peace and stability,” Erdogan said.
He reiterated Turkey’s continued support for Azerbaijan: “As long as Turkey and Azerbaijan work hand in hand, they will continue to overcome all difficulties and run from one success to another.”
In 44 days of fighting that began at the end of September and left more than 5,600 dead on both sides, mostly soldiers, the Azerbaijani army has advanced deep into Nagorno-Karabakh, forcing Armenia to accept the deal. of peace. The pact negotiated by Russia entered into force on November 10 and ended the violence.
Thousands of people in Armenia have since regularly protested, demanding that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan resign. The country’s opposition leaders hold Pashinyan responsible for not negotiating an earlier end to hostilities on terms that could have been more advantageous for Armenia. They stressed, however, that the opposition was not asking for the cancellation of the peace agreement.
As Aliyev and Erdogan watched the parade in Baku, several thousand people in the Armenian capital demonstrated outside the government building, calling for Pashinyan’s resignation. Protesters attempted to enter the building in hopes of meeting the prime minister, but were deterred by police. Dozens were arrested.