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Turkey denies claims that its F-16 warplane shot down Armenian fighter jet, tells Yerevan to stop ‘cheap propaganda games’

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Armenian claims that a Turkish F-16 warplane attacked and destroyed one of Yerevan’s Su-25 fighter jets are false, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted on Tuesday evening. His remarks echoed those from Baku.

“The claim that Turkish F-16s shot down an Armenian plane is not true,” Fahrettin Altun told the press. Altun also urged Armenia to call a halt to the “cheap propaganda games” and withdraw its troops from “occupied territories” in the disrupted Nagorno-Karabakh region.

His assurances were backed up by Azeri Defense Ministry spokesman, Vagif Dergahli, who blasted reports of Turkish jets fighting for Azerbaijan as “lies and another fantasy of the Armenian military-propagandist machine.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Armenia announced that a US-made Turkish F-16 shot down one of its planes. The Soviet-built Su-25 was targeted while in Armenian airspace, and its pilot was killed in the attack, according to officials in Yerevan.

The statement came just hours after Ankara pledged to help Azerbaijan to repel what it called “Armenian aggression” amid a new flare-up between Baku and Yerevan.

On Monday, Armenia warned that it’s ready to deploy Russian-made Iskander ballistic missiles to Nagorno-Karabakh if Turkey decides to send its F-16s to support Azerbaijan.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been a bone of contention between Azerbaijan and Armenia for decades, with the two neighbors fighting a bloody war over it in the 1990s. The region is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory, but the local majority-Armenian population refuses to submit to Azeri rule. Baku considers Nagorno-Karabakh to be illegally occupied by Yerevan.

Tensions in the area spiked again on Sunday after an exchange of fire between Azeri and ethnic-Armenian soldiers. Both Baku and Yerevan accused each other of initiating the violence and killing civilians as a result of strikes.

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