ISTANBUL – Russia and President Vladimir Putin are guilty of protecting the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) in Syrian air space, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday.
He added that Turkey’s effort to tackle ISIS in Syria is being “obstructed by certain foreign powers”.
Davutoglu accused Russia of trying to prevent his country from combatting ISIS in neighboring Syria.
“Turkey will retaliate in whatever form it deems necessary against anyone who attacks the country,” the Turkish PM stressed.
This comes amid deteriorating relations between Moscow and Ankara after a Russian fighter jet was shot down by Turkey over Syria in November.
Russia accused Ankara of shooting the jet down to protect its oil trade with ISIS extremist group. Putin has also accused the Turkish government of “licking the Americans in a certain place”.
Also on Wednesday, Turkish police arrested three Russian nationals in the southern resort city of Antalya suspected of links with ISIS.
Turkey detained 68 ISIS suspects across the country in the wake of the Istanbul suicide bombing on Tuesday that claimed lives of at least 10 people, mostly German tourists.
Davutoglu said his country will take “more visible security steps” in densely populated areas to prevent such attacks in future.
Reporting by: Eyaz Ciziri
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