Turkish foreign minister has rejected claims that his country is supporting terrorist and radical groups in Syria, putting the blame on world's inaction for rapid proliferation of the fighters linked with terrorist organization Today`s Zaman reported.
Ahmet Davutoglu told Swiss Neue Zürcher daily that Turkey doesn't support any terrorist organization or radical groups in any part of the world, accusing the regime of Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad of being responsible for the emergence of the radical groups.
The foreign minister's remarks came at a time when critics frequently blame Turkey for supporting the fighters affiliated with the al-Qaeda in Syria while clashes increased between Kurdish militants and radical fighters in northern Syria.
Davutoglu blamed the Assad's actions and the inaction of the international organizations for causing choas and mayhem in Syria, referring to the deadlock in the UN Security Council because of Russian and Chinese opposition.
He added that Syria didn't have radical groups two years ago while putting the number of radical fighters across the country at "thousands." He said the way to prevent the radicalization of the Syrian crisis is to find a solution to the nearly three years of conflict in the country that has now left more than 100,000 people dead.
When asked who are financing these groups, Davutoglu said "we don't know."
Quick to champion the pro-democracy uprisings which saw decades-old dictatorships unseated in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, it has become one of Assad's bitterest enemies and grown openly critical of US reluctance to intervene in a war that risks spilling onto its soil.
Turkish foreign minister rejected claims that his "zero problems with neighbors" foreign policy principle has fallen apart, claiming that the policy has been "successful" so far.
He noted that zero problems policy is "our principled program."
Ankara's accession negotiations with the European Union have stalled, while relations with key energy partner Russia are strained over Syria. The Syrian conflict is poisoning Ankara's sensitive relations with Iran, Syria's vital regional ally, and Iraq and complicating ties with Russia, undermining a declared policy of "zero problems" with the neighbors.
Davutoglu dismissed the claims, saying that Ankara doesn't have only "one or two neighbors," suggesting that other neighbors enjoy good relations with Turkey.
In an implicit acknowledgement of strained ties with regional nations, Davutoglu said his country has a problem with Syria and it cannot justify "coup government" in Egypt. But he put the blame on neighboring countries and said Turkey needs partners to solve problems.
He said Ankara fostered "very important ties" with Ukraine and Greece in the past ten years while abolished visa requirements with Russia. Noting that the situation with Armenia is better than it was when his government came to power in 2002, Davutoglu blamed Armenia for sabotaging the peace process they started in 2009.