On 30 September 2020, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): Malik Azmani, Urmas Paet, Nathalie Loiseau and Katalin Cseh of the Renew Europe Group posed a written parliamentary question to the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell:
“In the past few days, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has clearly stated his position of support for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has flared up since hostilities escalated. The Turkish President tweeted the following statement: ‘The Turkish people will support our Azerbaijani brothers with all our means as always’. There is a question as to exactly what ‘all our means’ implies.
On 28 and 29 September 2020, multiple articles and sources stated that Turkish support to Azerbaijan includes a deployment of (Syrian) fighters and the supply of various offensive military equipment, including weapons, drones and fighter planes.
The supply of arms and the deployment of mercenaries to one side of a foreign conflict by the Turkish State is not a new phenomenon: it has also happened in Syria and Libya. It is of utmost importance that the EU determines as quickly as possible whether these reports are correct, in order to substantiate the common EU position.
1. Can the VP/HR say whether the European External Action Service (EEAS) can confirm the above-mentioned allegations?
2. Has the EEAS reached out to the national intelligence services of the Member States in order to obtain verification and is this part of a standard procedure?
3. Can the VP/HR guarantee that if these allegations are true, the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs will be informed immediately?”
On 3 February 2021, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The High Representative/Vice-President cannot pronounce himself on the respective allegations as the EU is not involved with the monitoring on the ground, which is within the remit of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and remains suspended.
The EU welcomes the 10 November 2020 cessation of hostilities in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, which will prevent further loss of lives. This ceasefire hopefully represents a first step towards a comprehensive settlement of the conflict. The EU continues to support the established international format accepted by the sides, the OSCE Minsk Group led by its Co-chairs (France, the United States and Russia). The EU stands ready to contribute to these efforts and to the implementation of this and other agreements leading to sustainable peace and to a prosperous development of the entire South Caucasus region. The EU has already provided humanitarian assistance to cover the most urgent needs of civilians affected by the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.
The European External Action Service (EEAS) reaches out to the national intelligence and security services via the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre (EU INTCEN). As sole entry point for intelligence for the EU institutions, EU INTCEN provides strategic reporting based on requested (or ad-hoc) contributions provided by Member States’ intelligence services, allowing EU INTCEN to fulfil its role in supporting the High Representative, Council and Commission decision-making with situational awareness. EU INTCEN reports are of a classified nature.”
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