Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for reciting a poem about the separation of Azerbaijan, which he says the Turkish leader has misunderstood.
Erdogan attended a military parade in Baku on Thursday that saluted Azerbaijan’s recent victory in the Karabakh conflict, which claimed thousands of lives.
At the ceremony, which was also attended by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, he recited a poem which bemoans the separation of Azerbaijan under the Tukmenchay Treaty during the Russo-Persian War (1826–28), but Erdogan referred to it in the context of the occupation of Azerbaijani territories of Lachin and Karabakh.
“Pres. Erdogan was not informed that what he ill-recited in Baku refers to the forcible separation of areas north of Aras from Iranian motherland,” Zarif wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page on Friday.
The foreign minister said, “no one can talk about our beloved Azerbaijan.”
The Turkmenchay Treaty made Persia cede to Russia the control of several areas in the South Caucasus, with the boundary set at the Aras River which separates the Republic of Azerbaijan from Iran’s ethnic Azerbaijani provinces in the northwest.
Last month, Azerbaijan thanked Iran for supporting its territorial integrity in the war with neighboring Armenia over Karabakh.
“We appreciate Iran’s support to our territorial integrity as it was expressed at Highest Levels,” Hikmet Hajiyev, an assistant to the president of Azerbaijan, said in a tweet on November 6.
Last month, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei referred to the military conflict over Karabakh as “a bitter incident and a threat to the security of the region.”
“This military conflict must end as soon as possible. Of course, all the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia must be liberated and returned to Azerbaijan,” while the security of Armenians must be preserved and international borders must be respected by the warring sides, the Leader said.
Azerbaijan later expressed gratitude to Leader of the Islamic Revolution for his stance.
“We highly appreciate the statement made by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and the support given to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan,” said a statement released by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It said Ayatollah Khamenei’s position that Armenian-held territories “must be returned” to Azerbaijan are indicative of Tehran’s strong support for Baku’s position based on international law.