November 25, 2016 / 9:30 AM / in 3 years

Turkey needs support of Western organizations in war against terror: deputy PM

LONDON (Reuters) - Turkey faces terrorist threats from three different organizations and needs Western support to deal with these, Turkish deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Friday.

Speaking in London at Chatham House, Kurtulmus called Turkey an “island of stability” in a turbulent region but faced threats from Islamic State, the PKK Kurdish militant group and by followers of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen who is accused by Ankara of masterminding a failed coup on July 15.

“We are at war with terrorist organizations, we need the support of Western organizations,” Kurtulmus said.

Gulen has denied the accusation and condemned the coup. However security concerns and a wide-ranging crackdown on alleged Gulen followers in the civil service and army are seen hurting Turkey’s economy.

The coup and its aftermath have also soured Turkey’s ties with the West, and European Union lawmakers voted this week for a temporary halt to EU membership talks with Turkey because of Ankara’s “disproportionate” reaction to July’s failed coup.

Turkish policymakers have said the move will prove more harmful for Europe as it could open the doors to a flood of refugees.

But Kurtulmus said Ankara was not changing its foreign policy axis away from the West.

“Turkey has one axis and that is its own axis,” he said. “Turkey will continue to diversify its multi-lateral foreign policy and evaluate it in line with its national interest.”

He said the United Nations had lost the ability to resolve the world’s political problems.

“Post-cold war, it’s not a kind of world order, it’s a kind of disorder,” Kurtulmus said, citing the unresolved conflicts in Ukraine and Syria as examples.

Reporting by Sujata Rao and Claire Milhench

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