TRANSLATED: Europeans getting fed up with Turkey’s open door policy with Sunni Jihadists
Translated from our Mideastwire.com (for a free trial email firstname.lastname@example.org)
On November 19, the independent, leftist As-Safir daily carried the following report by Wassim Ibrahim: “Many European officials cannot understand what Ankara is thinking and why it is acting in a way that directly exposes their security. Thousands of western “jihadists” are crossing the Turkish borders, which turned the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant into a security threat at the very heart of their countries [i.e. the European countries]… These conclusions are emerging now as the Europeans are extensively discussing the revival of a joint security and defense policy.
“Europe admits that it suffers from a definite gap in its military capacities and the necessary structure to preserve its security. For this reason, the defense ministers of the EU met yesterday… The general goal consists of increasing Europe’s capacities to deal with the growing challenges in the East where the conflict with Russia is at its pinnacle thanks to the Ukrainian crisis and also in the South where the civil wars in the Arab countries have turned into a fire cornering the old continent.
“Several European countries asked for including ISIL as a main clause on the agenda of this discussion and to deal with this group as being a “common threat.” This is what a European official who took part in preparing for the meeting told As-Safir… The defense ministers of these countries, topped by Germany, wish to work on building a unified European policy to confront the threat of the “terrorist” group. They do not want this endeavor to be confined to the desire and concerns of some specific countries.
“The European official clarified this point by saying: “This is a general threat. To say that only some countries are threatened is wrong.” He then added: “The start now consists of launching this political discussion. This is important even if we have now started to plan some practical actions.”
“…Such a discussion called for the presence of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who met with the defense ministers. The void between the NATO’s borders and the borders of the EU is filled by only one state: Turkey, which is adjacent to Greece. From this void now comes “a major security threat” as dubbed by the EU documents. This threat consists of thousands of “jihadists” who crossed there from the borders. ISIL is threatening to use them to avenge the raids of the international alliance… Turkey now practically represents the weak side of the world’s strongest military alliance. One must recall that the NATO forces crossed massive distances to fight in Afghanistan under the flag of counter-terrorism. However, terrorism is now crossing the borders of the NATO on its way in and out.
“As he was heading to the meeting, As-Safir asked the NATO secretary general for his comment on this situation. Stoltenberg first said that the “jihadists” represent “a major security problem. For this reason, the NATO decided to work closely between the different allies to swap pieces of information and intelligence data…” But what about the “security weakness” on the borders of the NATO, mainly from the Turkish side? Stoltenberg clearly heard the question but avoided to respond directly. Clearly, this matter is causing a growing embarrassment…
“Some European officials are no longer embarrassed to address Turkey’s role. Elmar Brok, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the European Parliament spoke about that to As-Safir. This prominent politician who is a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party responded to our question by saying: “There must be a better cooperation (between Turkey and the Europeans) on who gets in and out of the borders.” He then added using a blaming tone: “In the past, ISIL elements obtained support and treatment in the Turkish hospitals.”
“Without showing any evasiveness, Brok said: “I think that we must not give the ISIL fighters or their likes a safe haven in our back yard for them to get well. The (Turkish officials) must not support ISIL either directly or indirectly through these tools.” He added that “this has happened in the past and I am not sure it is still taking place today.”
“…A number of European politicians criticized the European methods and the failure to come up with a common policy to confront the threat of the “Jihadists.” Nine countries are closely coordinating their policies considering that they are the most exposed to this phenomenon [the phenomenon of terrorism]. This pushed one opposing politician to say recently: “If I am a terrorist and I want to carry out an attack, I would of course opt for one of the other nineteen countries” in the union that includes 28 states…”