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Turkey holds joint military drills with Azerbaijan amid Armenia conflict

Azerbaijan and Armenia, long at odds, have been fighting in the strategic Tavush-Tovuz border area; Turkey has threatened to intervene on the side of Azerbaijan.

Turkey and Azerbaijan are conducting joint military drills amid ongoing clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Turkey sent US-made F-16 fighter jets to Azerbaijan for joint exercises, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry announced today. The joint military drills began Wednesday and involve planes and helicopters throughout Azerbaijan, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Border clashes erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan this month in the Tavush-Tovuz area; Azerbaijan's Tovuz region is home to a strategic energy pipeline. 

The flare-up is part of a wider territorial dispute between the two Caucasus nations known as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The area is disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan and there have been several skirmishes there since the end of the Soviet Union.

Turkey and Azerbaijan have a historically close relationship and Azerbaijani is a Turkic language. On Thursday, Turkey’s Defense Ministry tweeted “one nation, two states” and shared a video of a joint military drill.

Turkey and Armenia have tense relations, which is largely due to their disagreement on the Armenian genocide during the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. This refers to the forced killing and expulsions of Armenian, Syriac and Greek Christians at the time, which Turkey denies constituted a genocide.