Muslims 'must unite, act against terrorism'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called for unity of Muslim leaders to fight extremism after the recent Paris terrorist attacks, warning that otherwise jihadists will commit further atrocities.“We are at a crossroads in the fight against terrorism and on the issue of the refugee crisis after the terror attacks in Paris,” Erdoğan yesterday told a meeting of the Atlantic Council Energy & Economic Summit in Istanbul, referring to the Paris attacks on Nov. 13 that were claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and killed 129 people.
“I strongly condemn the terrorists, who believe in the same religion as me. I am calling on all leaders of Muslim countries to take a united position. In the same manner, I also call on all religious leaders to unite in this issue,” he added.
“If not, those who knocked on our door in Ankara will knock on your door elsewhere, as they did in Paris. Did it end with Paris? No, it may knock on the door somewhere else,” Erdoğan said, calling for states to cooperate more deeply in the fight against terror.
The Turkish president also lashed out at any notion that “all Muslims are terrorists,” saying “bad people can be Muslims, as well as Christians and Jews.”
“We cannot assign negative attributes exclusively to any religion. These bad people could be Muslims, Christians or Jews. Those who demonize Islam by looking at Daesh are making a big mistake. Daesh has nothing to do with Islam,” Erdoğan said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
“Terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, which abuse Islam, are in fact harming and killing Muslims more than anyone else. These organizations have no relation to Islam. I believe we took a step to preventing these evil sources from spreading through the attitude that we agreed on with Muslim-populated countries at the G-20 Summit,” he also added.
Erdoğan also accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of supporting ISIL and buying oil from the group.
“All terror organizations in the region are today serving the al-Assad regime directly or indirectly. ISIL is supported by al-Assad. Al-Assad buys oil from Daesh and provides it with money. One must be blind not to see this; this is clearly apparent,” he said.
Erdoğan added that Turkey has been “left alone” in its struggle with the Syrian refugee crisis since the war across the border broke out.
“We have carried the economic and social burden of around 2.5 million refugees from Syria and Iraq alone over the past five years,” he said.