Turkey to comply with UN bid over foreign fighters

Turkey to comply with UN bid over foreign fighters

Serkan Demirtaş ANKARA
Turkey to comply with UN bid over foreign fighters

US President Barack Obama chairs a UN Security Council summit meeting on foreign terrorist fighters during the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations in New York, Sept. 24. AFP Photo

Turkey will not be hesitant in complying with a resolution adopted by the U.N. Security Council urging countries to take effective measures against foreign fighters, a senior Turkish official has said, while adding that the country was yet to study it in detail before putting it into effect.

“Measures cited in the resolution are related to our own national defense. We, just like any other country, take measures for our border security. That’s why we welcome this U.N. adopted resolution. This is a binding resolution and we will comply with it,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted resolution No. 2178 late Sept. 24 that would require nations to enact laws aimed at preventing their citizens from traveling to foreign countries to join terrorist insurgencies.

The U.S.-drafted text also tells states to clamp down on recruitment and funding for terrorist groups. The move came as a response to the rapid advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria that pose a threat to regional and global stability.

“It’s still very fresh and we have not been able to make a detailed evaluation on the resolution,” the official said, adding that it would likely occur next week, after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu return from New York, where they have been attending the U.N. General Assembly meetings.  

One of the most comprehensive documents in the global fight against terrorism, the resolution requires countries to “prevent and suppress recruiting, organizing, transporting, and equipping” terrorist fighters, as well as the financing of their travel and activities. It also asks members to do more to cooperate with one another and share criminal records or other information where appropriate. “We will surely go through this resolution in our meetings for evaluation,” the official said.

Not disturbed with the resolution

When considering that some specific measures cited in the resolution, like effective border control or preventing recruitment, are specifically in reference to bordering countries like Turkey, the official assured that “Turkey was not at all disturbed by the resolution.”  

Turkey has long been a committed denouncer of terrorism and advocate of the global fight against terrorism, the official said. “Plus, Turkey designated the mentioned groups as terrorist organizations last year in October. Therefore, any global measures taken against these groups are not problematic for us whatsoever.”

Turkey has long been criticized for not doing enough to stop foreign fighters, coming mostly from European countries, to join ISIL and other groups, while Ankara criticized its Western partners for insufficient intelligence cooperation.   

The resolution also strengthens international cooperation to this end and if appropriate, urges bilateral cooperation between member countries.

Turkey under spotlight  

With the adoption of the resolution, Turkey will once again be under the spotlight, according to a foreign diplomat, who envisaged that the full implementation of the resolution will take time for a country like Turkey, which shares a 900-kilometer border with Syria and a 350-kilometer border with Iraq.

“On the one hand, the coalition forces will continue to exert pressure on Turkey for a more active presence and participation in the military campaign, and on the other hand, it will try to fulfill the obligations imposed by the resolution,” the diplomat told the Daily News.

A monitoring council will report the overall implementation of the resolution to the Security Council every 180 days, the resolution obliges.