Created on Saturday, 25 April 2015 22:22
Written by Ben Ariel - Arutz Sheva
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday referred to the Islamic State (ISIS) group as a “virus” working to destroy the Muslim community, in one of his strongest attacks yet against the jihadist group.
Ankara has been repeatedly criticized in recent months for not doing enough to halt the advance of ISIS to its borders, but Erdogan said after meeting Iraqi President Fuad Masum that the ultra-radical group had to be confronted, according to the AFP news agency.
ISIS “is an important virus that is working to divide and destroy the Ummah,” Erdogan told reporters, using the term for the global community of Muslims.
He added that said other groups had followed the same path but that ISIS had proved more adept at using its resources.
“An international strategy is essential to drain this swamp. Even if Daesh [ISIS] is destroyed something will emerge under a different name,” Erdogan was quoted as having said. “Where do its weapons and financing come from? We need to focus on this.”
Masum, whose forces are battling to win back swaths of territory that were lost to ISIS including its second city Mosul, echoed Erdogan’s description of the group as a disease.
“This virus can pass from this region to other regions. The countries in the region have serious responsibilities,” Masum said, according to AFP.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Ankara had done all it could to close its borders to jihadists but had to remain open to refugees as well as “30-40 million tourists” a year.
Davutoglu said ISIS emerged as a result of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s policies and added that the group “carried more risk to Turkey than anyone else.”
Indeed, Turkey has come under fire from Western countries for not doing enough to halt the flow across Turkish territory of European nationals seeking to join ISIS jihadists in Syria.
However, it has made a number of arrests in recent months and insists it is doing all it can to control the border.
Several weeks ago, a British woman was detained by Turkish police
on suspicion of seeking to join Islamic State terrorists in Syria, and was later deported back to Britain.
Previously, three British teenager boys suspected of trying to travel to Syria were detained by Turkey
and later deported to Britain.