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Turkey’s strong record on Isis 21 septembre 2014

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.
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The Observer (UK) 21 septembre 2014, p. 50
Comment ~ Letters and emails

Abdurrahman Bilgic *

Your article « Isis surges towards the borders of Turkey as west mulls options » (News, 24 August) implies that Turkish borders are « the only way to smuggle oil, weapons and foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria » and claims that « Turkey has a lack of will to confront the jihadis » and « Turkey has facilitated an extremist threat either through neglect or undeclared policy ».

These claims not only ignore the threat that these terrorists pose to Turkey but also disregard the sacrifice of the Turkish people and security forces: 46 staff and family members of the Turkish consulate general in Mosul in Iraq are still being held hostage by Isis; 74 Turkish citizens have lost their lives in the Syrian crisis and 337 people have been injured by mortar shells being fired into Turkey, terrorist attacks linked to Syria and illegal crossings at the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkey hosts more than one million Syrian refugees and helps many more in Iraq.

Turkey maintains a no-entry list of 6,000 names. Since 2011, almost 1,000 suspected foreign fighters have been deported by Turkish authorities. Turkey designated Isis as a terrorist group in 2005, under their previous names.

Turkey, as the co-chair of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum, works closely with friends and allies and hopes to see the same co-operation from other countries, in particular the nations where foreign fighters emerge. I am glad to see that the bilateral co-operation between Turkey and the UK gets even stronger. We are unfortunately witnessing a wave of misinformation, blaming Turkey for almost all aspects of the crisis caused by Isis. Some journalists advocate the closure of the border with Syria, but consider this: at 565 miles, it is virtually the same distance as from London to Inverness.

* Abdurrahman Bilgic, Ambassador, Embassy of Turkey, London SW7

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