‘In­stant shar­ing’ of in­tel­li­gence needed, says Turkey’s Er­do­gan

New Straits Times - - World -

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

REUTERS PIC

Pres­i­dent of Turkey Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan and his wife, Emine, ar­riv­ing at their ho­tel in Brussels, Bel­gium, yes­ter­day.

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