Azerbaijan recalled its Ambassador to Greece to return to Baku for consultations on the alleged involvement of Greek citizens in defending Artsakh against a Turkish-sponsored Azerbaijani and Syrian jihadist invasion attempt.
"We have informed the Greek Foreign Ministry that people of Armenian origin have arrived in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan from abroad, including Greece. We have requested an inquiry. After the decision by the Greek side to call its ambassador for consultations, the ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan is summoned back to Baku for consultations," reads the statement by the Azeri Foreign Minister.
On Wednesday, by orders of Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, the Greek Ambassador to Baku, Nikolaos Piperigos, was called back to Athens for consultations after Azerbaijan accused Greece of supporting and training terrorists, as reported by Greek City Times.
“Following the non-existent and offensive allegations against Greece, a strict protest was made to the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Greece, while by my decision the Ambassador of Greece to Azerbaijan was summoned for consultations,” Dendias said on Twitter accompanied with a link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement.
Σε συνέχεια των ανυπόστατων και προσβλητικών ισχυρισμών κατά της Ελλάδας, έγινε αυστηρό διάβημα διαμαρτυρίας στον Πρέσβη του Αζερμπαϊτζάν στην Ελλάδα, ενώ με απόφασή μου εκλήθη στην Αθήνα για διαβουλεύσεις ο Πρέσβης της Ελλάδας στο Αζερμπαϊτζάν. https://t.co/FLM1TT99kP
— Nikos Dendias (@NikosDendias) October 7, 2020
In the statement, the Foreign Ministry said “Following the completely unsubstantiated and insulting allegations made by the government of Azerbaijan regarding supposed tolerance on the part of the Greek state for preparation of terrorist actions, efforts to recruit terrorist fighters, and cyberattacks from Greek territory on Azerbaijan, in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a stern demarche was made to the Azeri Ambassador yesterday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
“Following the demarche, the Greek Ambassador to Azerbaijan, [Nikolaos] Piperigos, was summoned to Athens for consultations, by decision of Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias,” the statement concluded.
Hikmet Hajiyev, aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, told reporters on Friday that Greeks were fighting in Artsakh, describing them as “mercenaries.”
This comes as diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan is tense. While accepting the credentials on September 4 from Greece’s newly appointed ambassador to Baku, Nikolaos Piperigos, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev directly told the diplomat:
“I can tell you, and it is no secret, that Turkey is not only our friend and partner, but also a brotherly country for us. Without any hesitation whatsoever, we support Turkey and will support it under any circumstances. We support them [Turkey] in all issues, including the issue in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
The comments by Aliyev are unprecedented when considering the usual formalities of a head of state accepting the credentials of a new ambassador.
Greek media also reported that Athens filed a complaint with the Azerbaijan Ambassador to Greece following allegations made by Turkish and Azerbaijani media that Greek officers were involved in training militants who were later sent to Armenia.
According to Hurriyet, Lieutenant Apostolos Pervolakis was training an Armenian militia and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for about a month.