Turkish minister: No arms to civilians fighting ISIL

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu says sending civilians to the fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobane is a "crime" in an interview with France 24.

Turkish minister: No arms to civilians fighting ISIL

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that arming civilians to fight the ISIL would be criminal.

In an interview with France 24 in Paris on Saturday, Cavusoglu defended his government's position with respect to the battle at the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, just a few kilometers across the Turkish border.

Cavusoglu said: "Sending civilians to the war is a crime. We cannot risk the lives of these people. We don't want another tragedy in our region."

Referring to the refugees who have fled to Turkey from Kobani, he said: "I also don’t think those civilians prefer to go back." 

On Friday, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura had called on Turkey to allow Kurds to cross back into Syria to defend Kobani.

"We would like to appeal to the Turkish authorities in order to allow the flow of volunteers at least, and their equipment to be able to enter the city to contribute to a self-defense operation," de Mistura told reporters in Geneva.

Almost 200,000 people have fled the fighting in Kobani into Turkey since the conflict began last September. They have been driven out by the relentless advance of the ISIL militant group, which currently controls large areas in Syria and Iraq, and which now reportedly controls three districts of the border town.

He stated that airstrikes were a "failure and insufficient" to stop ISIL. A US-led airstrike campaign was launched against ISIL targets in Iraq on August 9, with the support of France, the U.K. and Belgium, along with that of Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.

Asked if Turkey should intervene with a ground operation, Cavusoglu said: "It is not fair asking Turkey to lead a ground operation on its own. It is not realistic. Without the establishment of a safe zone and a no-fly zone, it is also not very realistic."

Turkey has made its alliance with the U.S.-led coalition conditional on the establishment of a no-fly zone and for the creation of safe zone at the Syrian border. The Turkish parliament voted last week to approve a conditional Turkish military action in Syria and Iraq.

Cavusoglu underlined the importance of having a joint and comprehensive strategy with the coalition. "If there is a joint strategy, Turkey will seriously consider the execution of this strategy with allies and with friendly countries."     

He also spoke of the "solution process," the Turkish government's efforts to end a decades-old conflict with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as by the U.S. and the EU.

"We can never give up this process. We want to achieve more. We are sincerely making a great efforts but the others will do what they feel they must do. 

“The PKK is still a terrorist group for us. Not only for us, they are in the terror list of the European Union and the United Nations. They still have not laid their weapons down. They are still active.  They continue their terrorist activities."

The Turkish foreign minister spoke to France 24 after meeting with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius in Paris on Friday.

The two foreign ministers agreed Friday that there was no difference between the "barbarity" of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad-led regime and that of ISIL. The two ministers signed a two-year roadmap for cooperation which covered politics, economics, security and culture.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Ekim 2014, 17:14