Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan claims Europe aids terrorism

  • 07/11/2016
Tayyip Erdogan (Getty)
Tayyip Erdogan (Getty)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has accused Europe of abetting terrorism with its support for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and says he does not care if Europe calls him a dictator.

The president is taking a hard line as he cracks down on the Kurdish militant group and its sympathisers.

"Europe, as a whole, is abetting terrorism. Even though they declared the PKK a terrorist organisation, this is clear ... We see how the PKK can act so freely and comfortably in Europe," Erdogan said in a televised speech on Sunday.

"I don't care if they call me dictator or whatever else, it goes in one ear, out the other. What matters is what my people call me," he said.

Turkey has drawn international criticism following the detention on Friday of the leaders of the pro-Kurdish HDP, parliament's second largest opposition party, as part of a terrorism probe.

The government accuses the HDP of links to the PKK, which the party denies.

President Erdogan said that parliamentarians behaving as terrorists would be treated as such. He said Turkey's judiciary was independent and that nobody, including him, had the right or authority to interfere in judicial process.

A number of journalists from the opposition newspaper were also arrested during the crackdown. People took to the streets to protest the arrests but were met by water cannons and tear gas.