Putin: Civil war in Turkey as government collaborates with extremists

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that there is a civil war in southern Turkey as the government in Ankara collaborates with extremists.

"Turkey's current leadership does not fight radicals as much as it collaborates with them," Putin said in a nationally televised show in which he answers questions from the Russian public.

In southern Turkey, "there is actually a civil war," Putin said. "The international community is trying not to notice it, but this is a fact. There is heavy weaponry: tanks, artillery."

He added that it is unsafe for Russians to visit Turkey and Egypt because of security concerns.

Russia and Turkey's traditionally warm relations have deteriorated as they chose to support opposing sides in the Syrian civil war. Russia supports the Syrian government, whereas Turkey, which borders Syria, backs some rebel groups seeking to overthrow that government.

Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border in November and the pilot, who ejected, was reportedly killed by gunfire from a Turkic militant group.

Within its own country, Turkey is struggling with Kurdish groups that want to secede and form an independent state called Kurdistan.

Meanwhile, Kurdish groups in Syria, backed by the United States, are some of the main fighters against the terrorist groups Islamic State and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.

"Kurds are a very courageous people, even heroic," Putin said, adding that Russia will support their effort in Syria.

He described the Kurds as a "very serious force in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East, especially in Syria."

"We see this and we will support them," Putin said.

Last update: Thu, 14/04/2016 - 18:56
Author: 

More from World

Watchdog: Over 60 per cent of east Aleppo captured by Syrian regime

More than 60 per cent of the rebel enclave of eastern Aleppo has now fallen to Syrian government forces, a...

Nine dead, 25 missing after fire at California warehouse party

At least nine people died and 25 were missing after a fire broke out during a party at a warehouse in the US state...

Car bombing in Baghdad kills at least four, injures 10

A car bomb exploded Saturday in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing at least four civilians, police and witnesses...

Egypt's top court revokes police power on protests

Egypt's top court has quashed power granted to police to ban street protests.

Indonesian police release seven accused of treason

Indonesian police on Saturday released seven people, including two former generals and a rock star, a day after they...