‘Instant sharing’ of intelligence needed, says Turkey’s Erdogan
ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that the Manchester bombing showed terrorism was a global problem, and Nato allies should cooperate more closely and share information swiftly to confront it.
Speaking two days after the attack at a Manchester concert venue, which killed 22 people and was claimed by the Islamic State, Erdogan said member states of the military alliance must acknowledge they faced the same threats.
Turkey’s relations with Nato ally the United States have been strained by Washington’s decision to arm Kurdish YPG militia who are part of a force preparing to fight for the IS-held city of Raqqa in Syria.
Turkey regards the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), deemed a terrorist organisation by the US, Turkey and the European Union.
Washington sees the YPG as distinct from the PKK and a valuable partner in the fight against IS in Syria.
“Terrorism is a global issue. Global problems can only be solved through global cooperation,” Erdogan told a news conference in Ankara before heading to Brussels for a Nato summit on Thursday.
“We still see the distinctions of ‘my terrorist, your terrorist’. We have to move away from this.
“The antidote of terrorism is solidarity,” Erdogan said. “Instant sharing is obligatory in terms of intelligence. In this environment, it is compulsory that Nato is more active and it specifically has to offer more support to allies.”
Four senior European diplomats said France and Germany would agree at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday in Brussels to a US plan for Nato to play a bigger role in the fight against IS in Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, Erdogan will hold potentially tense talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk.
Turkey has worked for decades towards a goal of joining the European Union, and Erdogan is seeking a Turkey-EU summit to address their future plans. But relations have been frayed by sharp public disputes during the campaign for a referendum held last month that granted Erdogan greater powers.
While Turkey remains a “close partner” of the EU, there remains considerable concern about the “domestic situation in Turkey related to human rights,” a senior EU official said, adding the upcoming meeting did not mean relations were back to normal.
“The meeting is not a signal that we are coming back to business as usual. It's a sign that we want to continue talking.”
Erdogan likened German and Dutch leaders to Nazis when Turkish politicians were prevented from campaigning in their countries, and his narrow referendum victory was greeted with little enthusiasm by most EU countries. Reuters
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife, Emine, arriving at their hotel in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday.