President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking to reporters accompanying him late on Saturday on his return flight from Warsaw where he attended the NATO summit, said the world needed a universal definition of terrorism to prevent every country defining it any way they want to. "If such a definition is included in international law, then there can be no difference between what Turkey or Germany defines as terror." The legal definition of terrorism in Turkey, which is currently engaged in major counterterrorism operations against internationally recognized terrorist groups such as the PKK and DAESH, sparked objections from EU authorities, who exploited it to scupper the refugee deal and reject granting Turkish nationals visa-free travel. Erdoğan referred to an attempt to create an internationally accepted definition of terrorism 20 years ago, but argued that the international developments since then had made it necessary to update it.
"In the past 14 years, we, as Turkey, prepared our counterterrorism laws in line with international norms. We now call on those who want us to reassess it to pay attention to the current international state of affairs." He cited the recent spate of attacks by the PKK and DAESH that killed hundreds of civilians across Turkey, as well as similar attacks in Brussels, Paris and Lahore, and demanded a new universal definition of terrorism in light of the current state of the world. "I constantly brought up the issue of Syria during the summit," Erdoğan said. "Everyone is placing DAESH at the center of every conversation on terrorism. Was there a DAESH before the U.S. invasion of Iraq? There was only al-Qaida, which later morphed into DAESH."
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