Turkey captured wife of Baghdadi, Erdoğan says
Turkey has captured the wife of slain ISIL ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Nov. 6.
"We captured his [Baghdadi's] wife, but we did not make a fuss like the U.S. did. Similarly, we caught his sister and brother-in-law in Syria. We will continue our work in this regard," Erdoğan said.
"I am announcing for the first time," he said.
The president's remarks came during a speech at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the foundation of Ankara University's theology faculty in the capital Ankara.
Baghdadi's sister was captured and arrested by Turkey on Nov. 4.
"The arrest of al-Baghdadi's sister is yet another example of the success of our counter-terrorism operations," said Fahrettin Altun, Turkey's communications director, in a tweet.
"Turkey's fight against terror regardless of its ideology or origin continues unabated," he had said.
U.S. President Donald Trump had announced that al-Baghdadi had been killed in a late-night raid in northwestern Syria's Idlib province.
A senior Turkish official had told Reuters that Baghdadi's sister was captured in the Azaz town of Syria, the news agency reported on Nov. 4.
The official had said Baghdadi's sister's husband and daughter-in-law are being interrogated as well.
Rasmiya Awad, 65, was arrested in a raid near Azaz, according to the official. When captured, she was also accompanied by five children.
Baghdadi had risen from obscurity to lead the ultra-hardline group and declare himself "caliph" of all Muslims, holding sway over huge areas of Iraq and Syria from 2014-2017 before ISIL's control was wrested away by U.S.-led coalition forces.
The group, also known as ISIS, said a successor to Baghdadi identified as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi had been appointed.
World leaders welcomed his death, but they and security experts warned that the group, which carried out atrocities against religious minorities and horrified most Muslims, remained a security threat in Syria and beyond.
'West must look at the mirror'
Erdoğan also criticized the Western world for using the expression “Islamic terror.”
“The West must first look in the mirror. If you’re looking for terrorists, they are there,” he said.
“Another issue that we have to solve is the question of terrorism,” the president stated. “The terrorist is the person who shed the blood of the innocent without blinking an eye for his own perverted cause. In this respect, no Muslim is a terrorist,” Erdoğan stated.
Islam continues to exist “as the sole recipe for human salvation,” he said, “because Islam is a religion of peace.”