Saudi led anti-terror alliance not military in nature

Turkish Foreign Ministry says new anti-terror coalition announced by Saudi Arabia is not a military structure

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tanju Bilgic

A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman has said that a new international coalition initiated by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism including many other countries is not a "military structure."

Speaking during a press conference at the ministry in Ankara, Tanju Bilgic said, "I can say that this coalition will not be a military structure. It is not on the agenda.

"The military and intelligence cooperation in the fight against Daesh is essential but there is an ideological dimension of the fight against terrorism. These struggles should be coordinated so that Islam will not be identified with terrorism," he added.

He said that the unity of Muslim countries would be a response to those who are trying to identify the religion of Islam with terrorism.

Relations with Russia

Bilgic said that meeting a Russian government request for an apology and damages over the shooting down of a Russian warplane would be "impossible."

Turkish jets shot down a Russian SU-24 warplane near the Syrian border on Nov. 24 for violating Turkey’s airspace, despite repeated warnings.
Bilgic said, "It is impossible to cover the expenses [apology, punishment of the responsible people and claim for damages] that Russia demands.

"If the Russian Federation guarantees that they will not violate Turkish airspace once again, they will not encounter this kind of situation," he added, saying that Turkey did not harbour hostility towards military targets in Russia.

 Re-organising Turkish troops in northern Iraq

"Our troops in Bashiqa do not pose a threat to the territorial integrity of Iraq," Bilgic said, adding that the forces there will be re-organised when the "dynamic situation and threats change."

"One would wish that Iraq could completely eliminate the PKK and Daesh on their territory and Turkey would not take any military risk," Bilgic added.

Relations with Israel

About relations with Israel, Bilgic said that ties would improve if they cover requests such as an apology and compensation over the 2011 Mavi Marmara incident plus the removal of the blockade against Gaza.

Bilgic also commented on the honorary citizenship bestowed upon imprisoned PKK head Abdullah Ocalan by the Italian city of Palermo on Dec. 14. The Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman described it as "nonsense and unacceptable."