McDonald’s has become embroiled in controversy after its official Instagram account in Azerbaijan shared a series of nationalistic posts appearing to support the ongoing clashes between the country and Armenia.
One post, showing a soldier holding up an Azerbaijani flag, read: “We wish our native flag to always fly on the heights of Azerbaijan!”
Another post, featuring a map of the small former Soviet state, says: “Every inch of the country is native and indivisible!”
A third, including a picture of a mountainous landscape along with a fluttering flag, reads: “Verified, let our flag fly over all native lands of Azerbaijan!”
Another nationalistic post was shared earlier this month to mark the country’s independence day.
The posts were shared on the verified account for the fast food giant in Azerbaijan, which has 107k Instagram followers.
Daily Star Online has approached McDonald’s in Azerbaijan for comment.
The company’s head of marketing in Azerbaijan, Emil Huseynov, spent three years in the UK when they studied for a master’s degree at the University of Liverpool.
Over the past month, violence has flared up between the neighbouring Caucus nations of Azerbaijan and Armenia over the long-disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-controlled enclave which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.
Each side blames the other for the sudden clashes, with Armenia claiming that its neighbour launched air and artillery attacks on the territory on the morning of September 27.
For its part, Azerbaijan insists it was conducting a “counter-offensive in response to military provocation”.
As fighting turned deadly, Armenia declared martial law and general mobilisation, while Azerbaijan announced a state of war in some regions.
This seemingly regional dispute threatens to bring in other major powers, with Russia backing Armenia and Turkey supporting Azerbaijan.
Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations, due to the larger nation refusing to recognise the 1915 Armenian genocide, which saw an estimated 1.5 million people killed, a figure the Turkish government disputes.
The Nagorno-Karabakh region is also vital to the global energy trade.
Oil and natural gas pipelines connecting Azerbaijan and Turkey are crucial for the European Union’s energy supply.
Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that almost 5,000 people have been killed in fighting so far, although both sides give smaller death tolls.