- Title: Turkey's Erdogan says Belgium a centre for PKK militants and coup plotters
- Date: 16th November 2016
- Summary: ANKARA, TURKEY (NOVEMBER 16, 2016) (REUTERS) TURKISH PRESIDENT TAYYIP ERDOGAN HOLDING NEWS CONFERENCE BEFORE DEPARTING FOR PAKISTAN REPORTERS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "Backed by our special forces, Free Syrian Army continues its operation just 2 km away from al-Bab as planned. There aren't any signs of frailty. I hope, without losing any time al-Bab operation will be accomplished." REPORTERS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "In Manbij, coalition forces, especially U.S., reiterated their promise to secure in a day or two the withdrawal of PYD and YPG to the east (of Euphrates river). Now we are waiting and hoping they will keep this promise." REPORTERS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "While you (Germany) have declared PKK a terrorist organisation, you still give them support implicitly or explicitly. What kind of friendship is this? How sincere is this? What kind of behaviour is this? It doesn't make sense." REPORTERS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "They (PKK) raised 13 million euros. And who are they? A terrorist organisation. I know how strict German treasury is on these issues. They thoroughly track which association receives money and from whom. I know very well how they scrutinise even legal entities. But it's difficult for me to understand their insensitivity in this case." REPORTERS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "Belgium is now an important centre (for militants). It is not only an important centre for PKK but also for FETO (acronym for Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation). While important things happen, while our mosques are set on fire, nobody seems to care." REPORTERS LISTENING ERDOGAN LEAVING
- Embargoed: 1st December 2016 08:30
- Keywords: Turkey Erdogan Europe militants PKK Belgium
- Location: ANKARA, TURKEY
- City: ANKARA, TURKEY
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00158OZ5TZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Turkish-backed rebels are just 2 km (1.25 miles) from the northern Syrian city of al Bab and are expected to take it from Islamic State quickly despite some resistance, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday (November 16).
The rebels said on Tuesday (November 15) that they had taken Qabasin, several kilometres northeast of al Bab, to set the stage for an onslaught on the last urban stronghold of Islamic State in the northern Aleppo countryside. Kurdish-dominated militias have also been pursuing a drive to seize al Bab.
At a news conference before departing on a trip to Pakistan, Erdogan also accused Germany of not being fully committed to the fight against terrorism and of supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, adding that he had been shown German officials' documentary proof that an organisation in Germany was collecting money for the PKK militants.
He also accused Belgium of being an important centre for supporters of both the outlawed PKK and the cleric Fetullah Gulen, who Ankara says had orchestrated a failed coup in July.
The PKK, which has carried out a three-decade armed insurgency in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, is considered a terrorist group by Europe, the United States and Turkey. Ankara says its Western allies are not doing enough to fight the group.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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