BELGRADE – Turkey and Russia inched closer to war today after Ankara insisted it will hold Vladimir Putin personally responsible for future terror attacks on its soil, Al-Alam reported.
An astonishing warning Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu made after Kurdish militants apparently carried out a deadly car bombing in the country’s capital on Wednesday in which 28 people including six Turkish soldiers were killed.
The row is the latest escalation in a heated war of words between Russia and Turkey which broke out after the Turkish F-16 shot down a Soviet jet over Syria.
Both sides have accused each other of sponsoring terrorism, with Putin claiming last year that Turkey is buying oil from ISIS militants.
In a televised statement, Davutoglu said: “I am warning Russia once again. If these terror attacks continue, they will be as responsible as the YPG.”
Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in terrorist activities, instead insisting that it is Ankara which is sponsoring terrorists.
The YPG has denied carrying out Wednesday’s bombing in Ankara, claiming that it was an inside job by the Turkish government to build a case for sending ground troops into Syria, Express reported.
Erdogan Defends Syria Shelling as ‘Legitimate Defense’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again defended Ankara’s bombing of Kurdish regions in Syria as “legitimate defense” amid ongoing calls to end the deadly campaign.
“The situation we are currently facing is one of legitimate defense. No-one can deny or limit Turkey’s legitimate right to defense in the face of terrorist attacks,” Erdogan said late Saturday.
The comments came after calls from Damascus and several other states across the globe on Turkey to end its shelling of Kurdish targets in Syria.
Damascus on Saturday denounced Turkish artillery shelling inside the Syria territory as an “outrageous violation” of international law, saying Ankara is targeting civilians in the Arab country.
On Friday, French President Francois Hollande warned that Ankara’s growing involvement in war-ravaged Syria was generating a risk of war between Turkey and Russia.
US President Barack Obama also had a telephone conversation with Erdogan on Friday, calling on the Turkish government to “show reciprocal restraint” by halting the shelling.
Russia has also expressed concern about Turkey’s shelling and military campaign inside Syria, describing it as “unacceptable.”
Turkey has been bombing Syria’s northern territory since February 13 in order to stop the advances of Kurdish groups fighting Takfiri militants in the region. They fear Kurdish groups could create a stronghold near its southern border.
Ankara also blamed Syrian Kurdish fighters for a car bomb in the Turkish capital that killed 28 people earlier this week. However, a Turkey-based PKK splinter group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), claimed responsibility for the attack.
The TAK was once linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party but it says its relationship with PKK militants has been severed. The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s, Press TV reported.