Turkey's Erdogan renews call for change of leadership in Armenia
Iran Press TV
Thursday, 10 December 2020 5:05 PM
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated his call for a change of leadership in Armenia, a month after the ex-soviet country was defeated in a six-week war over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region with neighboring Azerbaijan, Turkey's close ally.
"We wish for the Armenian people to rid themselves of the burden of leaders who console them with the lies of the past and trap them into poverty," said Erdogan in capital Baku on Thursday, as he reviewed along with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, a military parade marking Armenia's defeat by Azerbaijan.
Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been occupied by ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Armenia since 1992 when they broke from Azerbaijan in a war that killed some 30,000 people.
The conflict re-erupted in late September, becoming the worst fighting in the region in decades, killing thousands of soldiers from both sides. The clashes also claimed the lives of dozens of Azerbaijani and Armenian civilians.
After six weeks of deadly fighting in and around Karabakh, Yerevan and Baku eventually agreed on November 9 to end hostilities under a Moscow-brokered deal that secured territorial advances for Azerbaijan in Karabakh and seven surrounding districts.
The truce, which was warmly welcomed as a victory in Azerbaijan, has prompted anger in Armenia, with protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
"If the people of Armenia learn their lessons from what happened in Karabakh, this will be the start of a new era," Erdogan added, renewing a similar call he made on September 27, when the fighting started.
Turkey to open border if Armenia moves toward peace: Erdogan
Elsewhere in his remarks on Thursday, the Turkish president said that Ankara could open Turkey's border gates to Armenia if Yerevan takes positive steps for regional peace.
Erdogan added that he also discussed establishing a six-country regional cooperation platform with Aliyev.
The Turkish leader stressed that Armenia could participate in the planned regional platform along with Turkey, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Georgia if it contributed to regional peace.
The Azerbaijani leader, for his part, praised the Turkish president's full support of Baku's position during the clashes, saying, "Erdogan supported our position, our just cause, from the very start... Taking part in this victory parade together we are again showing our unity, not only to our own peoples, but to the whole world."
The intense clashes forced up to 90,000 people - some 60 percent of the population of Karabakh – to flee the contested region.
As part of the ceasefire, nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers have stationed along the Lachin corridor in Azerbaijan, a 60-kilometer-long route that links Khankendi to Armenia.
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