UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS BY PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN; NEW DECK
By Sibel Morrow
ANKARA (AA) – The U.S. killing this weekend of Daesh/ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is "a significant achievement" which boosts the resolve to defeat terrorism, Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Monday.
“The killing of the Daesh leader is a significant achievement and a development that strengthens the determination on counterterrorism from now on,” Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in the capital Ankara.
But he rebuffed any suggestion that the terrorist group PYG/PKK deserved any credit for the accomplishment.
"We see some efforts to show deference to the YPG/PKK terror group in Syria in relation to [the killing]. Like, ‘They did some intelligence-sharing and supported [the operation]’,” Kalin said, decrying such efforts to legitimize YPG/PKK terrorists.
“Everybody should guard against that," he said.
Turkey’s intensive fight against Daesh/ISIS will continue, especially in northern Syria, to prevent the presence of any terror group, Kalin stressed.
On the situation of imprisoned Daesh members in Syria, Kalin said their countries of origin should repatriate these people for prosecution. He criticized how some Daesh members were extradited by Turkey to some European countries but were later released.
“Then some of them committed terror acts in France. Today we have the same problem. The European countries, their origin countries, do not want to accept the Daesh prisoners caught in the [northern Syrian] areas we took over,” Kalin said.
“However, under international law, that country is obliged to accept its own citizens. Even if [citizens] committed a crime, their country accepts them for prosecution and sentencing.”
– Possible Barzani visit
Referring to a possible visit to Turkey of Nechirvan Barzani, the president of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Kalin said it has been long planned but not yet confirmed.
Kalin also emphasized that Barzani’s visit to Turkey "has nothing to do with" the U.S. killing of the Daesh/ISIS leader.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the man who led the Daesh/ISIS terror organization as it swept up large swaths of Iraq and Syria, was killed in a U.S. nighttime raid in northwestern Syria, U.S. President Donald Trump announced early Sunday.
Trump thanked Turkey, Russia, Syria, and Iraq for their cooperation in the raid, further calling Ankara "terrific," and noting U.S. forces "flew over" some Turkish territory during the mission.
Turkey recognized Daesh/ISIS as a terrorist organization in 2013.
Since then, Turkey has been attacked by Daesh/ISIS terrorists numerous times, including 10 suicide bombings, seven bombings, and four armed attacks.
These attacks killed 315 people, including 11 police officers and two soldiers, and injured 137 civilians, 62 police officers and seven soldiers.
In response to these attacks, Turkey launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad.
In two cross-border military operations in northern Syria since 2016, Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch, Turkey neutralized 3,500 Daesh/ISIS terrorists and arrested 5,500.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.