Ankara denies Turkish institutions in Kosovo linked to ISIL

Ankara denies Turkish institutions in Kosovo linked to ISIL

Ankara denies Turkish institutions in Kosovo linked to ISIL

TİKA assisted Kosovo following the floodings earlier this year in the Balkans. AA Photo

Turkish foundations in Kosovo are not linked with extremist jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria and are not funding terrorism, a senior government official has said, denying a number of recent reports. “All of these reports are lies, slander,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told reporters Sept. 26.

The Turkish media reported claims that the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and the Yunus Emre Cultural Foundations have been involved in organizing jihadist groups in Kosovo linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Kurtulmuş stressed that the "fabrication" of such news reports was unfair and a distortion of the facts, while vowing that Turkey will continue to help Kosovo and other Balkan countries.  

“They are building madrasas and mosques, as well as new premises. They are carrying out cultural diplomacy for the improvement of Kosovo’s culture and bilateral relations between Turkey and Kosovo,” he said, stressing that these institutions aimed to prevent the spread of extremism and stop the growth of ISIL-like organizations in Kosovo.

Kurtulmuş said those trying to distort this reality were "acting shamefully against Turkey."

"Nobody should try to distort the reality. Those who are trying to stop Turkish efforts are those who want the spread of ISIL-like opinions in Kosovo and the Balkans,” he added 

There have been a number of reports claiming that Kosovo’s government has banned a number of Turkish cultural institutions on charges of alleged ties to ISIL and similar extremist organizations.