Turkey, World

Anti-Daesh strategy failing, senior Turkish aide says

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin calls for consistency in counter-terror approach

Anti-Daesh strategy failing, senior Turkish aide says


Turkey’s presidential spokesman on Saturday called for a review of the anti-Daesh strategy in Syria and Iraq to prevent the spread of terrorism.

In his weekly column in the English-language Daily Sabah, Ibrahim Kalin said there were lessons to be learned from the “latest act of cowardice and inhumanity” in Brussels, where terrorists killed 31 and wounded hundreds in attacks on an airport and metro station.

Tuesday’s bombings followed recent bomb attacks in Istanbul and Ankara.

“First of all, the anti-Daesh strategy needs to be revised,” Kalin said. “There is no doubt that this menace must be destroyed. Muslim and Western countries have to work together to eliminate Daesh, al-Qaida and similar terrorist organizations whether in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, France or Belgium.

“But the current strategy, which has focused primarily on airstrikes on Daesh targets in Syria and Iraq, has failed to stop Daesh from striking in Syria, Turkey, Europe and the U.S. The war in Syria continues to feed the Daesh monster. The longer we let this war continue, the deadlier Daesh terrorism will become.”

Kalin, an aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the conflict in Syria and “deep security and political problems” in Iraq had allowed Daesh to grow.

Referring to attacks in Ankara on Feb. 17 and March 13 in which PKK terrorists used car bombs to kill dozens, Kalin said it was “neither logical nor moral to treat Daesh as a terrorist organization that struck in Paris and Brussels but not the PKK that struck in Ankara twice over the last two months.”

Both the PKK and Daesh are “united in their terrorism directed at Turkey,” he added.

Kalin also called for greater intelligence-sharing and cooperation - pointing to Belgium’s failure to act on intelligence provided by Turkey about Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, who was deported from Turkey in June but went on to carry out the metro station attack in Brussels.

Turkey has deported more than 3,000 people and put another 37,000 on a no-entry list for suspected ties to terrorism over the last three years, Kalin said.

He also used his column to condemn Islamophobic responses in the West to terror attacks.

“The European and American Islamophobes wasted no time in using the recent attacks to manipulate the anti-Muslim sentiment for their political goals,” he said. “Homogenizing discourses about Islam and Muslims hurts the fight against radicalization and violent extremism.

“Daesh does not recruit solely on theology, as it manipulates political facts and recruits petty criminals, adventurers and misfits from all walks of life.”

Calling for a “consistent and efficient” approach, Kalin said: “Blaming the victims and manipulating public outrage for political opportunism serves no common good.”

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