UPDATES WITH REMARKS OF RAHEEL SHARIF, MOHAMMED AL-ISSA
By Ramazan Turgut and Ahmed al-Masri
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AA) – Turkey will never tolerate terrorist threats, Turkey's National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said Sunday, vowing to continue taking all necessary measures against the PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist group.
Canikli’s remarks came during a meeting of the defense ministers of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
He said Muslims and Islamic countries suffer the most from instability and lack of security, citing Friday's deadly mosque attack in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula which left 305 people dead and scores injured.
“We strongly condemned this massacre that took place in Egypt,” Canikli said, stressing that attacking worshippers during weekly Friday prayers is “unimaginable.”
“Those murderers do not represent Islam, they are using those opportunities to cause turmoil in our societies,” he said, stressing that “unity” is the only way to combat terrorist groups.
Canikli said solving domestic issues would hinder terrorism from exploiting sectarian, political, and economic issues.
Continuing the solidarity theme, Canikli said: “Turkey hosts more than 2 million Syrians… and hosting them is based on the spirit of solidarity.”
“The spirit of solidarity should stretch across the whole Islamic world,” he said.
The national defense minister pointed to Turkey’s role in combatting terrorism.
Turkey “works constantly to combat Daesh inside the country and outside, especially with Operation Euphrates Shield,” he said.
Canikli said that Turkey asserted terrorism can be fought by drying up its finances during the Syria peace talks held in Astana, Kazakhstan with Russia and Iran.
Speaking at the same meeting, Gen. Raheel Sharif, the IMTCT's commander, said the coalition’s main role is to fight terrorism, “not any country, sect, or religion.”
“The IMCTC will act as a platform to assist member countries in their counter-terrorism operations through intelligence-sharing and capacity-building.”
Mohammed Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, underlined that terrorism is not based on political or military entities but on extremist ideology.
Held under the theme “Allied Against Terrorism”, Sunday’s ministerial meeting is expected to discuss means of fighting terrorism and cutting off its finances.
The 40-member bloc was launched by Saudi Arabia in late 2015 with a view to fighting terrorism. It includes countries such as Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Egypt.
A declaration issued by a Arab-U.S.-Islamic summit in Riyadh this May said the alliance member states were ready to deploy 34,000 troops with a view to supporting operations against terrorist groups in Iraq.