Turkey, Politics

Erdogan: Turkey can't cope with foreign fighters alone

Foreign terrorist fighters threat should be addressed starting with the countries of origin where these terrorists come, says President Erdogan.

25.09.2014
Erdogan: Turkey can't cope with foreign fighters alone

UNITED NATIONS 

 Turkey is ready to take the front line against the flow of foreign fighters, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday at the U.N. Security Council.

"Indeed, Turkey has done a lot to stop it; however, this is not something that Turkey can cope with alone," Erdogan said. 

The council chaired by U.S. President Barack Obama voted 15-0 to make countries classify as a crime if a citizens travels overseas for the purpose of joining militants or to recruit others to join. 

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the adoption of the resolution and said, "The world is witnessing a dramatic evolution in the nature of the terrorist threat," He added that the resolution would strengthen the implementation of the U.N. global counterterrorism strategy.

The U.S. president also addressed the meeting. "What brings us together today, what is new, is the unprecedented flow of fighters in recent years to and from conflict zones, including Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Libya and, most recently, Syria and Iraq," he said.

Obama noted that the U.S. intelligence agencies estimated that more than 15,000 foreign fighters from more than 80 nations have traveled to Syria in recent years. 

The foreign fighter issue was not a new phenomena, but is a symptom of a bigger problem, the Turkish President said. 

"Today, the failure of the states neighboring to us with our southern borders has created a chaotic arena and a safe haven for the terror groups," he said while noting that Turkey had warned the international community against the threat of foreign fighters when Syria began to destabilize. 

The inaction of the international community, however, caused al-Qaida to revive itself and gain power with the support of the Syrian regime under the brand of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, according to Erdogan’s assessment. 

The foreign terrorist fighters threat should be addressed starting with the countries of origin where these terrorists come from, he said while adding that Turkey’s priority is to prevent foreign fighters from entering the country.

"ISIL is a bloody terrorist organization and the Turkish government has taken all legal measures against this group from the very beginning," Erdogan said.

"The countries of origin has recently started to share intelligence with Turkey as the gravity of the threat increased," he added. 

He also warned that any measure taken in this respect should not be open to the abuse of Islamophobic groups, that may use a policy of this kind against Muslims in different parts of the world. 

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