Turkey: 7,833 suspects on govt list for ISIL links
Turkey's will to fight terrorism should not be questioned especially since the country itself has been affected by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist group in various ways, Turkish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, Anadolu agency reported.
Addressing a weekly briefing at the ministry's headquarters in Ankara, spokesperson Tanju Bilgic said Turkey had so far deported 1,056 people who came from abroad and tried to enter Syria illegally.
"We have a list that contains 7,833 people from 90 countries, who are suspected of trying to join ISIL," Bilgic said.
EU's law-enforcement agency Europol estimates there are between 10,000 and 12,000 foreign fighters who have been recruited recently by the ISIL terrorist group. An estimated 2,500 of them are of European origin.
The spokesperson refuted claims that after the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, Turkey became a "transitional" country for foreign fighters to join ISIL's terrorist activities in Syria.
"Turkey has been affected by ISIL terror in various ways," Bilgic said. "Therefore, Turkey's will to fight terrorism should not be questioned."
"The bloody-minded regime in Syria caused ISIL to take advantage of the vacuum in the country," he said. "Therefore, the root cause of the ISIL terror has to be removed and a democratic regime has to be established."
Among Turkey's strategic suggestions to deal with ISIL are calls for a "no-fly zone" and "safe zones" on Syrian territory, plus the removal of Assad. Turkey and the U.S. are also involved in a plan to train so called moderate Syrian rebels and Iraqi security forces to beat back ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria.
On Dec. 14, 2014, the European Parliament condemned the police crackdown and detention of journalists and media representatives in Turkey, who were allegedly linked with U.S.-based preacher's Gulen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of trying to topple the Turkish government.
The spokesperson said Turkey "completely rejects" the parliament's resolution, and claimed that "the truths are falsified" in the report.
"We respect the EU institutions and desire the communication channels to always be opened, but this report is one sided, prejudiced and manipulated," Bilgic said.
The EU resolution had urged Turkey to "work on reforms which should provide for adequate checks and balances fully guaranteeing freedom, including freedom of thought, expression and of the media, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights."