Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he believes that the coalition combating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is focusing too much on the Syrian town of Kobane near the Turkish border and should turn its attention to other areas.
“Why Kobane? And why not other towns like Idlib, Hama or Homs, or why not even Deir al-Zor?” Erdogan said in Paris on Friday after talks with President Francois Hollande.
“Why not Iraqi territory, 40 percent of which is occupied? Why aren’t we envisaging an intervention in these provinces and why are we envisaging an intervention in Kobane?
ISIL has taken over several villages around Kobane, known as Ain al-Arab in Arabic, and has beseiged the town since mid-September. More than 200,000 people from the area have crossed into Turkey.
“In Kobane at the moment there is almost no one left, there are only 2,000 people. Why constantly attack the town of Kobane? It’s difficult to understand that approach,” Erdogan said.
“That’s why I wondered why the coalition forces haven’t wanted to operate in other Syrian territories. Why has there not been another reaction to Daesh [ISIL] in other territories?”
It has been reported in the international media that Turkey is supporting ISIL. This is absolutely false and untrue.
In addition to Kobane, the US-led coalition has launched strikes against ISIL in the province of Raqqa – which the group has taken over in full and where its headquarters are located – and other parts of northern and eastern Syria.
Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have taken part or aided the strikes. More countries – including France and the UK – have joined efforts to fight ISIL in Iraq.
Erdogan also took the opportunity to deny allegations that his government is supporting ISIL as he addressed reporters.
“It has been reported in the international media that Turkey is supporting ISIL This is absolutely false and untrue,” he said.
“Turkey is being falsely accused here as we never provided any support to ISIL – nor do we plan on providing any in the future.”
Ankara has long been accused of not doing enough to stop the flow of fighters crossing its borders to join ISIL.
ISIL, with thousands of foreign fighters in its rank, has taken over large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq and has been accused of grave atrocities against civilians and in battles against security forces.