PM: Turkey to decide alone to expand cooperation against ISIS
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULSep 23, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Sep 23, 2014 12:00 am
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, expressing discontent over the pressure put on Turkish government to cooperate with international circles to join military action against the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), said Turkey will draw a roadmap taking national benefits and concerns into consideration in its decision.
Speaking on a private news channel over the release of 49 consulate staffers abducted by ISIS militants, Davutoğlu said Turkey's approach towards participating in military action against ISIS will be shaped after every detail regarding the country is calculated. He said 'Turkey can make its own decision' disregarding pressure by international circles.
46 Turkish citizens - diplomats, consular officials and their families - and three Iraqi citizens working for the consulate were kidnapped from the Mosul consulate on June 11, a day after ISIS took control of Iraq's second-largest city. The matter was what caused Turkey –both a U.S ally and NATO ally-- to reject engagement in armed assaults towards ISIS as Turkey refrained from signing the Jeddah Communique which meant accepting to use military force against ISIS.
The crisis over the issue grew as the return of the hostages, which stood as an impediment against providing military assistance in the fight against ISIS, prompted Turkey's allies in the international platform to push Turkey to step up the cooperation. Turkey drew its line in the coalition in question and agreed only to provide the allies with humanitarian and intelligence assistance.
Since the hostages have come back, Turkey has been pressured by its allies to join the military action against ISIS.
"To attribute the issue only to the matter of hostages is wrong, so too is it wrong to tell Turkey what step it should take. An impression that Turkey is in a test and has to prove itself is aimed to be given in international press, which is not the case. Turkey can make its own decision." Davutoğlu said.
With the return of the hostages held by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Western media started discussing whether or not Turkey will take part in military action by the U.S.-led and growing anti-ISIS coalition.
Speaking critically of international society Davutoğlu accused them of taking no action when Syrians were suffering at the hands of the Asad regime. "The international society which failed to speak up against the killings of people with chemical weapons in Syria should prove itself." Davutoğlu said implying the United Nation's failure to issue a decision over the matter.
Reiterating that the country's stance towards ISIS did not change since the day ISIS emerged, Davutoğlu said they 'labeled ISIS Militants as terrorists" even before the hostages were held in Mosul and stated that Turkey will never tolerate its offences which not only harms people but also 'Islam'.
Refering to the allegations that Turkey is on ISIS's side, Davutoğlu further said: "Our stance towards ISIS is obvious, so are their (international media outlets) intentions. They wanted us to utter things that would harm the country. We have national concerns and benefits, which are our priority."
According to foreign policy experts, involvement in any armed coalition against ISIS could lead to an influx of extremist militants into the country which could harm its relations with non-ISIS people of neighboring countries.
Davutoğlu also gave more details over the release of the hostages in a question-and-answer session broadcasted on the NTV news channel. He touched upon the details of the operation conducted against ISIS.
Referring to the allegations of the government paying ransom for the hostages' release, he said "We paid no ransom, since paying ransom puts others in danger while saving some."
Davutoğlu also touched upon how the hostages were freed in a 'successful' operation. He had given Turkey good news on Saturday announcing that the abducted consulate workers were released in an operation conducted by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
He, on Monday's session, also announced sadly that an official involved in the operation was executed after his identity was unveiled.
"Some of our unidentified officials are from MIT. I know who they are. I gave them the orders hosting them in the office of the prime ministry five days before the operation. One local providing the Turkish spy agency with intelligence was executed after his identity was revealed. He was a Turkey lover, and now he will be remembered as an anonymous hero.
He stated that the utmost fear pertaining to the hostages held by ISIS was the fear of a bomb falling to where they were kept. He added that they issued an ultimatum to the ISIS militants saying if they treated the citizens as hostages they would face a 'different' kind of dealing.
"We tried to avoid using the word 'hostage' while negotiating with them thereby." Davutoğlu noted.
Davutoğlu also responded to the allegations targeting the government over a presence of a bargaining to exchange the hostages with ISIS militants. Giving an indirect response to the reporter's question, Davutoğlu said if the lives of our citizens' are 'on the line' anything could be done.
"What matters is they are back safe and sound. What matters is how successful the operation turned out. The one stable fact is that we didn't pay ransom and never will." Davutoğlu said, recalling that there always was a risk.
He concluded his speech by calling on the opposition parties to unite in cases of pain and sorrow.
"I appreciated the leader of the main opposition party for his call to congratulate us, a move which I also expected from the leaders of the Nationalist People's Party (MHP) and The People's Democratic Party (HDP)."
Kılıçdaroğlu phoned Davutoğlu on Saturday to congratulate him over the government's success for bringing back the 49 Turkish hostages from Mosul.
Kılıçdaroğlu was quoted as saying "I'm glad that our citizens could safely return to our country."