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Ankara's Daesh fight more effective than US-led coalition: Experts

ŞEYMA NAZLI GÜRBÜZ
ISTANBUL
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Turkey's battle against the terrorist group Daesh has become more effective, over a short period of time, compared to that of the U.S.-led coalition, said experts at a conference in Istanbul on Sunday.

Speaking at the conference, Taha Özhan, a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission, said, "Despite the fact that one of the biggest coalitions in history has been formed to fight Daesh, the terrorist organization continues to exist. This means either Daesh is much stronger than the world's major powers or the coalition is not actually fighting it. I believe the latter gives a better explanation to the current situation."

He said that the end of this terror group in the region was near.

The conference, jointly organized by the Al Sharq Forum and the Afro Middle East Center (AMEC), was titled, "Towards a New Security Architecture for the MENA Region."

Held in Istanbul over the weekend, the conference brought together experts, policymakers, current and former officials as well as representatives of international agencies specializing on the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, in efforts to set a framework for new security architecture in the region. The fight against Daesh was, meanwhile, the main objective of the conference.

"Is Daesh a big problem? Yes. Is it the biggest threat to the world? No," he said, drawing attention to Daesh's strength compared to the world's major powers. "Turkey, single-handedly, has managed to achieve much more in the fight against Daesh, within a very short period of time, compared to the U.S.-led coalition," he further asserted. Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24, 2016, declaring that it was exercising its right of self-defense, codified under U.N. Charter Article 51.

A National Security Council press release dated Nov. 30, 2016 stated that the objectives of the operation were to maintain border security and confront Daesh terrorism within the framework of the U.N. Charter.

"We need satiability in the region and mere 'democratic' rhetoric is no longer enough to achieve this goal," said Paolo Magri, executive vice president and director of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), pointing to the importance of stabilization in the process of saving the region from Daesh.

Until now, Turkey and the FSA have cleared some of the main strongholds of Daesh, including Dabiq, Jarablus, al-Rai and al-Bab.

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