Er­do­gan calls As­sad ‘more ad­vanced ter­ror­ist’ than IS Of­fers Turk­ish na­tion­al­ity to Syr­ian refugees

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNACIONAL -

ISTANBUL—Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan de­clared Sun­day that Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad was a “more ad­vanced ter­ror­ist” than ISIS, de­spite the deadly at­tack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Air­port that Turk­ish of­fi­cials blame on IS.

Speak­ing in the town of Kilis near the bor­der with Syria, Er­do­gan said the Syr­ian leader was re­spon­si­ble for the deaths of some 600,000 of his own cit­i­zens and was the root cause of the war in Syria.

“He is a more ad­vanced ter­ror­ist than a ter­ror­ist from the PYD or the YPG,” Er­do­gan said. “He is a more ad­vanced ter­ror­ist than Daesh.” Er­do­gan was re­fer­ring to Syr­ian Kur­dish mili­tia, which Ankara ac­cuses of be­ing a ter­ror or­ga­ni­za­tion be­cause of their af­fil­i­a­tion with Turkey’s Kur­dish rebels, and to the ISIS group by its Ara­bic name.

Three mil­i­tants armed with as­sault ri­fles and sui­cide bombs at­tacked one of the world’s busiest air­ports on Tues­day night, killing at least 44 peo­ple. Although no one has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, Turk­ish of­fi­cials say they be­lieve it was the work of IS.

Turk­ish author­i­ties have de­tained at least 24 peo­ple in raids in sev­eral Istanbul neigh­bor­hoods over pos­si­ble con­nec­tions to the at­tack. Seven­teen other peo­ple were de­tained in the prov­ince of Gaziantep, the state-run Anadolu Agency re­ported.

Er­do­gan paid an unan­nounced visit to the air­port on Satur­day, say­ing a prayer in front of a me­mo­rial set up for the vic­tims, which fea­tures the pic­tures of air­port em­ploy­ees killed in the ram­page.

He later flew to Kilis, where the num­ber of Syr­ian refugees is higher than the lo­cal Turk­ish pop­u­la­tion. IS mil­i­tants have also at­tacked the town with cross-bor­der rocket fire, killing 21 peo­ple there since Jan­uary. Er­do­gan said coun­tries he did name were sup­port­ing the Syr- not ian Kur­dish mili­tia and the IS in a bid to pre­vent democ­racy in could even­tu­ally be granted Turk- ish cit­i­zen­ship, Pres­i­dent Re­cep how the cit­i­zen­ship pro­ce­dure would work, Er­do­gan said.

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