Turkey has kept a number of its F-16 fighter jets in Azerbaijan after a joint exercise that was held in July, the Middle East Eye reported on October 8, citing sources familiar with the issue.
The sources told the London-based outlet that the fighter jets were kept as a deterrent against any possible Armenian attacks on Azerbaijan.
“The F-16s have been there as a deterrent against any Armenian attacks on civilian populations and military installations within Azerbaijan,” the outlet quoted one of the sources as saying.
New York Times journalist Christiaan Triebert shared on October 7 satellite images, proving that at least two Turkish F-16s were deployed in Azerbaijan’s Ganja International Airport.
We compared the approximate measurements and visual characteristics (canard wings, color, etc.) with a variety of aircraft, including those operated by the Azerbaijani Air Force (MiG-21, MiG-29, Su-25, L-39). The Turkish-operated F-16 is the closest match. pic.twitter.com/dRCGUshyYp
— Christiaan Triebert (@trbrtc) October 7, 2020
Armenia claims that one of the Turkish F-16s deployed in Azerbaijan was behind the shot down of one of its Su-25 warplanes on September 29.
The Middle East Eye’s sources denied the Armenian accusations, claiming that the F-16s are not supporting Azerbaijani operations in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to the sources, the Turkish F-16s were moved from Ganja following an Armenian rocket strike that targeted the airport on October 4.
The presence of Turkish troops, warplanes and Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries in Azerbaijan indicate that Ankara is playing a key role in the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku is, without a doubt, receiving support from Turkish forces.
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