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Heavy fighting escalated this week between Armenian and Azerbaijan forces over the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh. On Friday, global leaders renewed calls for a ceasefire with French President Emmanuel Macron pressing for a fresh round of peace talks. In an interview with FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg in Yerevan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sat down to discuss the crisis embroiling his country. 

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told FRANCE 24 that Turkey would continue its expansionist footprint and its goal of  “the genocide of Armenians”.

“Armenia is the last obstacle in the way of Turkey and their expansion towards the north, and the east,” Mr Pashinyan said.

“Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lives in an echo chamber that he has created,” said Soner Cagaptay, author of The New Sultan, a biography of Mr Erdogan. Erdogan’s attempts to “resurrect” the Ottoman Empire or to style himself a sultan is reportedly of huge concern in the world . Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accuses Turkey of continuing its expansionist footprint and its goal of  “the genocide of Armenians”.

He pointed to recent evidence of Turkish aggression in the Mediterranean Sea towards Greece and involvement in Syria and Iraq.

“Turkey has a clear objective of reinstating the Turkish Empire. Don’t be surprised if that policy succeeds here, don’t be surprised if they attempt to incorporate into their empire not only the Greek islands but expand further into continental Europe. If Turkey succeeds in this, wait for them in Vienna.”

The fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh is the biggest escalation in years in the decades-long dispute over the region, which lies within Azerbaijan but is controlled by local ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia.

FRANCE24/AFP

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