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Ankara urges int'l community for better intel sharing on Daesh, YPG terrorists

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
ANKARA
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A Turkish soldier seen near the Syrian town of al-Bab as part of the Operation Euphrates Shield on Jan. 23.
A Turkish soldier seen near the Syrian town of al-Bab as part of the Operation Euphrates Shield on Jan. 23.

Ankara has called on its Western allies to enhance intelligence sharing in the fight against the outlawed PKK's Syrian offshoot the YPG, which poses a national security threat to Turkey, in addition to information shared during the operations against Daesh in Syria

With relations between Turkey and Germany hanging by a thread, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told members of the media following a Cabinet meeting at Çankaya Prime Ministerial Office Monday that even though Turkey's international allies have made improvements in intelligence sharing, much more needs to be done. He urged Germany to enhance its intelligence cooperation on the PKK terror organization's Syria affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG), in addition to Daesh.German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Ankara last week included meetings with Turkish officials to address Germany's indifferent, passive policies on terrorist groups and its lack of support towards Turkey in its fight in counterterrorism.

Despite Merkel's visit, the state of diplomatic relations between Ankara and Berlin continue to remain in the balance with reports released last week indicating that German has ruled out the possibility of giving Turkey unfiltered access to images gathered by Tornado fighter jets operating out of İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey under the auspices of the broader fight against Daesh militants. Commenting on the matter, Deputy Prime Minister Kurtulmuş said, "I'd like to once more stress that coalition forces are not providing the desired support [to Turkey] which is the only country fighting on the ground in the armed fight against Daesh, the PKK terrorist organization and its Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) militants."

Continuing with his remarks by emphasizing what Turkey expects from its allies in the counterterrorism fight, Kurtulmuş also added that, "Our expectation from our friends and allies is not only the sharing of intelligence and Daesh-related information, but also that our allies take unified action against the PYD threat in Syria while informing us of [the PYD's] actions [which threaten] Turkey. ... Recently, there have been improvements in intelligence and information sharing; however, I would like to emphasize that our expectation is for all intelligence information to be shared in its entirety." Echoing Kurtulmuş's remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak stated, prior to Merkel's visit, that Germany embraces all kinds of terrorists that create trouble for Turkey, while expressing frustration in the face of Germany's lack of support in Turkey's counterterrorism fight.

Meanwhile, Kurtulmuş addressed the fight against Daesh on the ground in Turkey, stressing that operations against all terror groups including Daesh, the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) will continue with determination, saying: "We are conducting operations to prevent possible Daesh recruitment activity in Turkey and our efforts to sever this organization's ties in Turkey will continue with sincerity as we await the results of these counter-terror operations," he added.

On that note, more than 700 people linked to the Daesh terrorist organization, including those suspected of planning attacks targeting Turkish cities, were detained on Sunday in nationwide operations amid Turkey's operations in Syria aimed at "neutralizing" the terrorist organization. As part of the operations, counter-terror police forces discovered documents and "digital material" in the suspects' possession that contained Daesh propaganda and information about the terrorist organization's activities.

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