Recep Tayyip Erdogan said those who presumed to “discipline and direct Turkey the way they want through terror organizations” were trying to “pick up the slack of crusaders, the Mongol invasion, the Sevres treaty and complete it”.

The crusades saw Western knights ransack Constantinople in 1204 while the Mongols ravaged the Anatolia in early Ottoman period. The 1920 Treaty of Sevres was the Allies’ attempt to carve up Ottoman territory after World War I.

Erdogan added that the “motive” that brought soldiers to the shores of Gallipoli was the same one that swelled the ranks of terrorist groups.

“Those who that day came within the dream of invading Istanbul, with the aspiration of giving an end to the 450-year-long gap, are today using terror organizations as tongs for the same aim,” he told at an iftar dinner he gave for the relatives of martyrs and veterans at the presidential complex in Ankara.

The speech came hours after 11 people, including seven policemen, were killed in a car-bomb attack in Istanbul.

Erdogan said Turkey’s security forces had dealt a severe blow to the PKK - listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU - killing around 7,600 since July last year, when the group resumed its 30-year armed campaign.

Anadolu Agency