Syria ‘exporter of terrorism,’ Turkey’s president says
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoTurkey’s president has described the war-torn country as an “exporter of terrorism” fuelled by chaos inside the country.
“The chaos in Syria has provided an environment for terrorist organizations like Daesh, al-Nusra, the PYD [Democratic Union Party] and the YPG [Peoples’ Protection Units] to grow and disperse,” Erdoğan said in a speech at the Turkey-Somalia Business Forum in Istanbul on Feb. 23, using the Arabic acronym “Daesh” for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“As Turkey, we have been struggling with a separatist terror organization for 30 years. In our view there is no difference between terrorist organizations. We do not discriminate between al-Shabab, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] and al-Nusra, or between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK], the Democratic Union Party [PYD] and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units [YPG],” he added.
The YPG is the armed wing of the PYD, which Turkey sees as the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed PKK.
“Turkey, a country which feels the most pain of the Syrian-origin threats, is the most affected country by terror attacks,” he said, calling the situation too heavy for Turkey to carry alone.
Erdoğan repeated calls for the international community to take a “common stance” against terrorism, adding that around 400,000 people have died and 12 million people have been displaced since the Syrian war erupted in 2011.
“As Turkey, we cannot remain silent about this tragedy happening in our neighborhood … Turkey has been a voice of global conscience with its stance on the Syria problem and saved the honor of humanity,” he said, adding that Turkey has hosted more than 3 million migrants.
Erdoğan also said Turkey has increased its development aid in proportion to its national income more than any other country in the world.
Referring to Turkey’s support for Somalia, the Turkish president said Ankara would “never let it down.”
“Restructuring the state with all its institutions is a long and hard road full of barriers. We should support Somalia on this rocky road,” he said.
The forum was organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey.