Gainesville Sun – Sep 7, 1993
Armenian forces pose a threat to an Azerbaijani region on Turkey’s border
IGDIR, Turkey — Turkish troops backing their nation’s threat of war kept close watch on Armenian forces along the border Monday. “Our military outposts are more vigilant than before,” said Gov. Erdogan Izdi of Igdir province. His province borders Nakhichevan, an autonomous Azerbaijani region sandwiched between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Igdir, the provincial capital, lies 58 miles from the border.
The region has been tense since Armenian forces gained control in June of the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh inside Azerbaijan, Turkey’s ally. Armenia proceeded to seize Azerbaijani territory.
Informal peace talks were to resume Wednesday in Moscow, where Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller was to meet Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin met Monday with Azerbaijan’s Geldar Aliev, who asked Russia for help.
Ciller said over the weekend she would ask Parliament for permission to wage war if Armenia attacks Nakhichevan, and Turkey’s government confirmed sending extra forces to the border.
Turkish news media reported about 50.000 troops were in northeastern Turkey and said elite paratroop battalions were among units moved to the border with Armenia and Nakhichevan.
At least seven Turkish military outposts surveyed the 125-mile border with Armenia, marked by the Aras river. Turkey also shares a seven-mile border with Nakhichevan.
Russian troops, who help guard the border between Turkey and Armenia under an agreement with Armenia, said they came under unprovoked gunfire from the Turkish side early Monday. No casualties were reported, and the Turkish news agency Anatolia said a drunken wedding celebrant fired the shot.