The time has come for the US, Europe, Russia and others to join Turkey and take a collective stand against DAESH, the Turkish prime minister has said.
Ahmet Davutoglu wrote in a newspaper column published on Friday that while measures to defend Turkish territory would remain in place, Turkey will work with Russia and its allies to calm tensions.
Writing in The Times, Davutoglu said, "The downing of an unidentified jet in Turkish airspace was not - and is not - an act against a specific country. Turkey took action, based on standing rules of engagement, to protect the integrity of its sovereign territory. The necessary discussions are now taking place. While the measures to defend our territory will remain in place, Turkey will work with Russia and our allies to calm tensions."
But the Turkish prime minister urged all sides not to be distracted "from the cause that unites us."
He continued, "The international community must not turn on itself. Otherwise, the only victors will be DAESH and the Syrian regime. This symbiotic relationship keeps both alive."
"In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, like those in Ankara and others before it, the focus should be to tackle, head-on, the international threat that DAESH poses, securing the future of Syria and seeking a solution to the current refugee crisis. Failure to do so will enable DAESH to expand its hateful ideology. Like the terrorist scourge, the global response must transcend parochial interests."
Davutoglu said that DAESH "worships death and rejects life, and has nothing to do with religion" and accepted the Muslim world "can and will do more to demonstrate that in relation to Islam."
But he also added, "The non-Muslim world, too, should make the distinction between terrorists and their false claim to legitimacy, and not be drawn into a so-called clash of civilisations. Remaining indifferent to the crises in the Middle East is no longer an option. We need to rethink our collective course of action."
The international community’s failure, the Turkish prime minister wrote, was to not focus on combating DAESH’s spread in Syria.
"Instead, non-DAESH positions have been bombed, as well as groups fighting the Assad regime. I will go so far as to call out Russia on this point, as President Obama and David Cameron have done. But we must resist the temptation of playing the blame game and concentrate on ensuring concerted action."
Davutoglu ended his column by referring to those who masterminded the attacks in Paris, Ankara, Beirut and the Russian airliner over Sinai: "[they] aim to undermine the compassionate treatment of refugees and interfaith harmony in the West.”
"Letting anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-semitic voices hijack the political discourse undermines Europe’s ability to promote tolerance of all faiths and cultures. Turkey joins with those defending a humane vision for Europe. Indeed, our application for EU membership underlines our commitment and can be seen in our solutions to the refugee crisis.”
"This is the time to stand firm against DAESH. Collective action that harnesses the varying strengths of the US, the EU, Russia, Turkey and others can, and will, turn the tide."