Saturday 3 December 2016

Paris Terror Attack: 'The time for words is over' - Turkey's Erdogan urges globe anti-terror consensus

Asli Kandemir and Nick Tattersall

Published 14/11/2015 | 17:53

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has urged world leaders to 'stop talking' and prioritise the fight against terrorism ahead of a G20 summit in southwestern Turkey.

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The worst bloodshed in France since the end of World War Two has cast a pall over preparations for the two-day summit of the Group of 20 major economies that begins on Sunday and is due to be attended by heads of state including US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

French President Francois Hollande has pulled out of the meetings but told Mr Erdogan by phone that his foreign and finance ministers would attend, Turkish presidential sources said.

Read More: Paris Terror Attack: EU chiefs call for one minute's silence across Europe on Monday

At least 127 people were killed as bombers and gunmen went on a rampage across the French capital overnight, targeting a concert hall, restaurants, bars and a sports stadium.

Family members of Korkmaz Tedik, a victim of Saturday’s bomb blasts, mourn over his coffin during a funeral ceremony in Ankara
Family members of Korkmaz Tedik, a victim of Saturday’s bomb blasts, mourn over his coffin during a funeral ceremony in Ankara
Relatives cry during the funeral of Korkmaz Tedik, 25, killed in Saturday's bombing attacks (AP)

"We are now at a point where words end in the fight against terrorism. We are now at a stage where this should be put at the forefront," Mr Erdogan told reporters ahead of the summit.

Although the G20 usually focuses on economic issues, the fight against terrorism was already expected to be on the agenda.

The summit comes two weeks after a suspected bomb attack on a Russian airliner killed 224 people in the Sinai Peninsula.

Read More: #ParisAttacks: Thousands march across Dublin in solidarity with Paris terror victims

It also comes just over a month after two suspected Islamic State suicide bombers blew themselves up at a peace rally in the Turkish capital Ankara, killing more than 100 people in the worst such attack in the country.

A girl places a paper, carrying a peace sign featuring Eiffel Tower, next to candles and flowers in memory of victims of deadly attacks in Paris, outside the French embassy in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
A girl places a paper, carrying a peace sign featuring Eiffel Tower, next to candles and flowers in memory of victims of deadly attacks in Paris, outside the French embassy in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
A French policeman stands guard outside a commercial center in NIce, France, November 14, 2015, the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Events such as the attacks in Paris made it crucial for the world's top economies to stand shoulder to shoulder at the summit, China's vice finance minister said.

"We must work together, we must enhance our solidarity," Zhu Guangyou told a news conference in the coastal resort of Belek, where leaders began gathering for the summit.

Read More: Paris Terror Attacks: Possible link between man arrested in Germany nine days ago and Paris attacks - reports in Germany

An unnamed man brings his portable grand piano and plays John Lennon's Imagine by the Bataclan, one of the venues for the attacks in the French capital Credit: John Walton/PA Wire
An unnamed man brings his portable grand piano and plays John Lennon's Imagine by the Bataclan, one of the venues for the attacks in the French capital Credit: John Walton/PA Wire

Speaking in Vienna, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there was growing consensus among global powers that they had to work together to confront Islamic State.

Mr Erdogan condemned the Paris killings and pointed to Turkey's own long battle with domestic security threats, which include its fight with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in its southeast and recent bomb attacks linked to Islamic State.

Turkish officials said Mr Erdogan would push in bilateral meetings with leaders including Mr Obama for more coordinated and decisive action against Islamic State in Syria.

But he would also emphasise Turkey's opposition to US support for Kurdish rebels who are fighting the radical Sunni insurgents, they said.

Turkey says these rebels have close ties to the PKK, considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union as well as by Ankara.

Read More: Paris Terror Attacks: France vows 'merciless' response after attacks kill 127

"Terrorism has no nationality or religion. All terrorism is bad, we must leave aside the feeling that our terrorist is bad and your terrorist is good," Mr Erdogan said.

NATO-member Turkey opened its air bases in July to the US-led coalition against Islamic State, but critics say it woke up late to the threat.

Following January's attacks in Paris by gunmen on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the wife of one of the gunmen fled through Turkey to IS-controlled Syria.

Turkey stepped up its fight against Islamic State in July but the campaign has largely seen air strikes and military action against PKK fighters in Turkey and northern Iraq.

Read More: Paris Terror Attacks: Holder of Syrian passport found in Paris passed through Greece - Reuters

On Friday night Turkish jets pounded PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the group's headquarters are located.

Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition HDP, said the Paris attacks were a result of the world's failure to deal with Islamic State (ISIS).

"The world, including Turkey, has not undertaken an effective, coordinated effort against ISIS.

"Just the opposite, everyone used ISIS, or elements within it, for their own interests," he said at an event in Istanbul.

Reuters

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