Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday denied media reports accusing Ankara of having trade relations with the Islamic State (ISIS) which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria, stressing that his government fights against all types of terrorism and terrorist organisations.
Erdogan told a gathering of the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK) in Ankara that “Turkey is a country which fights all types of terrorism and terrorist organisations without discrimination. We have never accepted the concept of Islamic terrorism, and will not accept it”.
He denied media reports claiming that his country buys oil from ISIS in exchange for weapons and medical services saying: “We have stressed and continue to stress that this is impossible.”
Erdogan lashed out at the New York Times newspaper over an image of him accompanied by Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu while leaving the Haci Bayram mosque. “They used this photo alongside a story about a terrorist organisation [ISIS] by saying the organisation recruits terrorists from the surrounding area of the mosque. To put it mildly, this is impertinence, sordidness, vileness,” the president said.
The Turkish leader stressed that the events in the region proved the accuracy of his country predictions. “They did not listen to Turkey’s warnings about the Middle East, Iraq, Syria and Palestine, as well as in Ukraine, but today they agree with us after they saw the results.”
Commenting on the Turkish diplomats abducted by ISIS in Iraq, the Turkish president said: “Our 49 citizens detained in Mosul are the most important. We must speak cautiously when we address this issue because we are in a position of responsibility, and we should talk and move taking into account the sensitivity of the detainees’ situation. We hope this country’s media and its political parties observe the same sensitivity.”