Just days after the UN General Assembly meeting, where the world leaders couldn't emphasize more the importance of being united, comes in the news of escalated clashes.
Armenian side of the story
The Armenian Ministry of Defense reported that Turkish warplane F-16 shot down its Sukhoi SU-25 fighter jet. The official Twitter account of Armenia also reads, "Armenian Su-25 was shot down by a Turkish F-16 that took off from the Ganja airbase in Azerbaijan."
The Armenian Unified Infocenter, managed by the Armenian government, said in a statement that an F-16 fighter belonging to the Turkish military took off from Ganja Airbase in Azerbaijan at 10.30 a.m local time.
The Infocenter further said, "Unfortunately, the pilot died heroically," adding details, "The Turkish F-16 was around 60 km deep into Armenian territory and flying at an altitude of 8,200 meters."
The Turkish claims
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, completely denied the incident that Turkish fighter jet F-16 even engaged with Armenian forces, let alone bring down its Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet. Spokesperson Fahrettin Altun further also called out Armenia to stop, "cheap propaganda games."
Vagif Dargyahly, the spokesperson for Azerbaijan's defense ministry has also denied the Armenian claims as, "lies and provocation," further adding, "You can't destroy what doesn't exist."
Armenia vs Azerbaijan & Turkey
The Armenian claims come hours after Turkey pledges to help Azerbaijan repel 'Armenian aggression.' Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out on Sunday after the Azeri and ethnic Armenian soldiers exchanged fire. Azerbaijan launched an aggression to drive out Armenians from the region. Armenia also warned that it's ready to deploy its Russian made ballistic missiles in case Turkey decided to back up Azerbaijan with its F-16s.
Nagorno–Karabakh, the bone of contention
The region of Nagorno Karabakh has been the issue between the two neighbors for decades now. While the region is internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan but it is inhabited by ethnic Armenians. Azerbaijan considers the region to be illegally occupied by Armenia since the war in the 90s.
A fighter jet being shot down in escalated clashes and a loss of human life is no small thing. Equally alarming are the claims and denials in equal measure over the issue. It is difficult to interpret the incident in isolation and not consider the backdrop of the Armenia-Turkey conflict. While Turkey has pledged support to brotherly Azerbaijan, both on and off the field, that clearly hasn't gone down well with Armenia.
Armenia has not yet activated the Russia-led alliance CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation), but the reports, of Turkish F-16 fighter shooting down Armenian Su-25, have brought the topic back to the discussion table. CSTO is a collective military alliance wherein aggression against one signatory would be perceived as aggression against all. To begin with, thus by Armenia activing CSTO, Russia could be brought face to face with NATO member Turkey. When it comes to conflicted zones, the ripple effect goes far further than ever perceived or predicted.