Russia warns Turkey over nationalist leader’s Syria remarks: report

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ANKARA, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 29 : Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party's leader (MHP) Devlet Bahceli gives a speech during his party's group meeting at the The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey on November 29, 2016. Okan Ozer / Anadolu Agency

Russia has urged Turkey to refrain from making provocative statements about events in Syria amid rising tensions over the Syrian province of Idlib, Gazete Duvar’s English service reported on Friday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was “perplexed” by comments made by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli – a staunch ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“We believe that in the context of the tense situation in the northwest of Syria, it is worth exercising restraint and in particular refraining from provocative comments that do not contribute to a constructive dialogue between our countries,” the ministry said on Thursday.

Bahçeli on Tuesday slammed Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the killing of five Turkish soldiers a day earlier.

“We won’t be relieved until killer Assad goes away. Assad is a murderer and the source of animosity. Russia, which tries to handle Turkey and Syria simultaneously, does not have good intentions. It’s our sincere wish that the government review its relations with Russia,” Bahçeli told MHP members during a parliamentary group meeting.

He then adopted a more ambitious tone, saying that Syria had become Russia’s de-facto colony and that Moscow holds Assad’s “leash.”

“The Turkish nation should plan on entering Damascus, if it’s necessary and if no other option is left, and should destroy the oppressors,” Bahçeli said.

“What I’m saying is let Syria burn, let Idlib collapse and down with Assad!” he added.

Turkish Minute

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