Turkey ‘most dedicated’ in fight against ISIL
SINGAPORETurkey is the most dedicated country in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, adding that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) “neutralized” a total of 4,600 ISIL militants in Syria and Iraq.
“A total of 4,600 ISIL terrorists, of whom 3,800 in Syria and 800 in Iraq, were neutralized until today. No country shows the determination shown by Turkey in the fight against ISIL unfortunately,” Yıldırım said at the 41st “Singapore Lecture” conference in Singapore on Aug. 21, adding that Turkey has an active role in the U.S.-led coalition formed to fight against the jihadist group.
“We ended ISIL activities in more than 2,000 square kilometers of area and cleared these regions from ISIL with Operation Euphrates Shield,” he said.
Operation Euphrates Shield saw Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants backed by the Turkish military take territory in northern Syria from ISIL between August last year and March.
Yıldırım also said terrorism is a national, regional and global threat and “is a trouble for the world.”
“The main problem in our region is extremism. These foreign fighters are coming from all over the world. They cross from our soil to join ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Thus, we see that the problem is not inside Muslim countries, we see that the problem is everywhere,” he said.
During his speech, Yıldırım said Turkey spends “major efforts” in solving the Syria crisis.
“The ceasefire observation mechanism with the participation of Iran, Russia and Turkey has been ongoing actively. Moreover, the regime and the opposition were made to sit at the same table for the first time,” he said.
Saying that Turkey opened its doors to more than 3 million Syrian refugees since the beginning of the war in Syria, Yıldırım noted that the “open-door policy” gained international praise.
“The expenditures we made for the Syrians in our country reached $30 billion when the works of all of our institutions are included. The European Union provided our country 800 million euros as part of its commitment to give us 3 billion euros. The contribution from the international community barely reached $500 million,” he added.