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Ambassador Erkan Ozoral: Turkey must always be close to Azerbaijan

Turkey must always be close to Azerbaijan for such tragedies as Khojaly tragedy not to reoccur, Turkish ambassador to Azerbaijan Erkan Ozoral told reporters in Baku on Feb. 26, Enter.News reports.

"Today we came here to commemorate the victims of the Khojaly tragedy that occurred 27 years ago,” he said. “We are here today to share this grief."

Ozoral said that the massacre of Khojaly civilians must not remain unpunished.

The ceremonies are held in most of Turkish cities to revere the memory of the victims of the Khojaly tragedy, he added.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

During the Karabakh war, on Feb. 25-26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces, together with the 366th infantry regiment of Soviet troops, stationed in Khankendi, committed an act of genocide against the population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly. As many as 613 people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 old people were killed in the massacre. Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both. Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people still remains unknown.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.