Wednesday 13 December 2017 Last Update: 05:29 AM

Turkish FM Rejects Armenian Claims Of Support For DAESH

Published: 11-19-2016


Cavusoglu rebukes Armenian delegation head, pointing to Turkey's active anti-terror operation beyond its borders

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu rejected Armenian claims about Turkey's support for the terrorist organization Daesh on Saturday.

Speaking in Istanbul at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's 62nd general meeting, Cavusoglu rebuffed the claims of Armenian delegation head Koryun Nahapetyan.

Nahapetyan had said, "Turkey is actively supporting Daesh, and the country's policies caused instability in the region".

"You are from Armenia and I am Turkish. But firstly we have to be honest. We have to be honest if we were politicians. Unfortunately our Armenian friends are not honest. How can you say that we are supporting Daesh?", Cavusoglu said.

"Who is maintaining an active operation against Daesh beyond the Turkish border?” he asked, referring to Operation Euphrates Shield, which launched in late August. “What country has killed as many Daesh terrorists as Turkey did? We eliminated more than 700 terrorists in our Camp Bashiqa [Iraq] alone".

Turkey has a longstanding military training mission at Camp Bashiqa, where Turkish soldiers have trained both Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and local tribal volunteers in combat techniques.

"Who is effective at stopping Daesh's foreign fighters? You say, 'You are supporting Daesh'. Daesh hates us. Look at their webpage. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is their arch-enemy. And his close associates and me as well. Why? As I said just now, we are fighting against them actively. Both at home and abroad, and we fight all types of terror", said Turkey’s top diplomat.

Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield began on Aug. 24 to rid Syria's northern border area of terrorists, particularly Daesh. Around 1,760 square kilometers (680 square miles) of land in northern Syria have so far been cleared of Daesh terrorists as part of the operation.

‘No one is more effective’

Cavusoglu stated that Turkey had also halted the flux of foreign fighters, as 52,000 people were barred from entering Turkey and 4,000 Daesh suspects were caught and extradited to their own countries.

He added that Turkey has jailed more than 2,000 suspects linked to Daesh.

"No one is more effective than us at killing Daesh’s ideology. That's why Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the target. What are they doing? They are recruiting fighters from 125 countries by abusing religion", Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey has urged the entire world: “Do not join the terrorists, they have nothing to do with Islam”.

He also said that the political vacuum in Syria and Iraq and sectarian polarization has damaged both countries and as a result, terrorist groups have gained power along Turkey's southern border.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed – and more than 10 million displaced – across the war-battered country, according to UN figures.

The Syrian Center for Policy Research, a Beirut-based NGO, has put the total death toll from the five-year-old conflict at more than 470,000.

Additionally, Cavusoglu said that the presence of PKK and Daesh and various other terrorist groups threatens both Turkey and NATO.

He added that there has to be a determined fight against all terrorist organizations such as Daesh, the PKK/YPG, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram.

The PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU – resumed its decades-old armed campaign in July last year. Since then, more than 300 civilians and nearly 800 security personnel have been martyred. Around 8,000 PKK terrorists have been killed or apprehended.

The YPG is the military branch of the PKK's Syrian affiliate, the PYD.