By JOHANNES SEBELKAAP, Associated Press Russian President Vladimir Putin has been an outspoken critic of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and criticized the Turkish government for allowing a referendum that would give him more power than ever.
But the Russian leader has also been careful to remain in line with U.S. and European sanctions, as he did in a recent interview with NBC News.
Putin said on Thursday he still holds the view that Erdogan has failed to fully implement his reforms and that he will do what he can to improve the situation in Turkey.
He also praised the actions of Turkish soldiers and police in recent days, saying they have not used excessive force.
Erdogan is the highest-profile Western leader to be detained by Russian authorities since a military coup last year.
Russian President Vladimir Trump also has been detained on suspicion of trying to influence the referendum in Turkey, but his name was not mentioned in the NBC News interview.
“The United States and Europe have not been able to put a stop to the coup attempt in Turkey because they have been so aggressive, so aggressive with Russia,” Putin said.
“This shows that they have no desire to stop this.”
Putin also said Turkey’s military operations against Kurdish militants in Syria are being supported by Washington, which he described as “an enemy” of Turkey.
Efforts by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to build a buffer zone along the Turkish-Syrian border have been met with the backing of the U.N. Security Council and NATO, but Putin said the situation is complex.
“We are not satisfied with the situation where the Kurds are being attacked by Turkish forces, but we are not happy with the position that Turkey has in Syria,” he said.
Etrianou, the president of the European Parliament, said in a statement that the United States should withdraw its support for the Turkish military in Syria.
“This would send a clear message to Turkey that it will not be able to remain a member of the international community in the long term, and we urge the United Kingdom, France, Germany and others to do the same,” he wrote.
“It is also important to emphasize that the use of force in Syria is completely unacceptable and is only a step in the direction of an armed confrontation with Russia and Turkey.”