Erdogan says Europe aiding terrorism with support for Kurdish militants

November 6, 2016 8:12 AM EST

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan attends a Republic Day ceremony at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Ataturk, to mark the republic's anniversary in Ankara, Turkey, October 29, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas


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ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Europe on Sunday of abetting terrorism with its support for the PKK and said he did not care if Europe called him a dictator as he cracks down on the Kurdish militant group and its sympathizers.

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

"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.

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.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Nick Tattersall)



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