Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has renewed his call for a change of leadership in Armenia following Azerbaijan's victory in Karabakh and offered Yerevan a chance to join a six-country regional cooperation bloc.

Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan attend a signing ceremony in Baku, Azerbaijan, December 10, 2020.
Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan attend a signing ceremony in Baku, Azerbaijan, December 10, 2020. (Reuters)

Turkey could open its border gates to Armenia if Yerevan takes positive steps for regional peace, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

Erdogan, in Baku to mark Azerbaijan's victory in a war over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, earlier on Thursday renewed a call for a change of leadership in Armenia.

Speaking alongside Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Erdogan said he took issue with Armenia's leadership not its people. 

Erdogan said he discussed forming a six-country regional cooperation platform with his Azerbaijani counterpart.

Armenia could participate in the planned regional platform along with Turkey, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Georgia if it contributed to regional peace, he said.

"We have no grudge against the people of Armenia. The problem is with the Armenian administration. Over 100,000 Armenians live in my country," Erdogan said.

"We wish for the Armenian people to rid itself of the burden of leaders who console them with the lies of the past and trap them into poverty," he added.

France's hostile stance

He also criticised the OSCE Minsk Group for failing to resolve the issue in the face of nearly 30 years of occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia.

At the same time, he praised Russia's role in ending the weeks-long border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia earlier this year.

He touched upon the French National Assembly's resolution recognising Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent republic.

"Even [Armenian Prime Minister Nikol] Pashinyan doesn't accept it," he said, adding that French President Emmanuel Macron has "not learned politics yet."

He said France constantly tries to make contacts with Aliyev during the clashes and also reached out to Turkey, but Ankara did not return the phone calls.

Erdogan went on to say that the Azerbaijani administration will unleash an era of progress in Karabakh within three to five years.

READ MORE: Azerbaijan may sanction French MPs for entering Karabakh region illegally

Turkey 'sets the example of courage'

For his part, Aliyev thanked Turkey for the support during clashes with Armenia, adding that two countries enjoy such close and friendly relations.

"President Erdogan's Turkey sets the example of courage, independence and development for the world," Aliyev said.

He said Turkey's drone Bayraktar played a "defining role" in Azerbaijan's victory in Karabakh.

Offering an olive branch to Armenia, he said they are ready to start fresh cooperation with Yerevan for the sake of lasting peace in the region.

"If the Armenian administration draws the right conclusions from the war and looks to the future by giving up its baseless claims, then they can have a place in this bloc," Aliyev said, referring to the regional bloc on the cards.

Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a number of agreements in the fields of transportation, communication and visa exemption.

READ MORE: Turkey: Armenia to pay price if it violates Karabakh ceasefire

Sour relations

Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but is populated and, until recently, was fully controlled by ethnic Armenians.

After a bloody war in the 1990s which saw them seize other outlying regions belonging to Baku, Armenia forced Azerbaijani people to leave the region.

When new clashes erupted in late September, Azerbaijan retook several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the Armenian occupation.

The two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement on November 10 to end fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.

The truce is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces have been withdrawing in line with the agreement.

At Thursday's parade, helicopters bearing the flags of Turkey and Azerbaijan flew over the nearby Caspian Sea, almost 3,000 Turkish troops marched across Baku's main square, and Azerbaijani tanks and soldiers filed past the two men.

READ MORE: Turkey's Parliament approves troop deployment to Azerbaijan

Source: TRTWorld and agencies