ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the most influential person who could “kill” the ideology of the Islamic State (IS) because Muslims around the globe were listening to what he was saying.
Cavusoglu was criticizing European politicians who expressed support for the Kurdish fighters defending the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) against a now two weeks-long military campaign by Ankara, state-owned Anadolu Agency reported.
“Can we defend [IS] because we are Muslim and they are using the religion of Islam? On the contrary, [IS] has nothing to do with our religion Islam, which means peace,” Cavusoglu told reporters in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.
“The single person who has been most effective in killing this ideology [of IS] is Erdogan. Because Muslims all over the world are waiting to hear what Erdogan says. Because Erdogan is the only leader expressing sentiments of the Islamic Ummah,” Cavusoglu continued.
“If you are sharing the same ideology [with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)] then take up arms and go to the mountains,” the Turkish Minister said, directing his words at European governments, human rights organizations, and politicians he charged with backing terrorism.
He went on claiming the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) that has been on the forefront of the war on IS in Syria was a “Marxist, Leninist, and atheist” organization.
“Our Kurdish brothers there [northern Syria] do not follow those Marxist atheists,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Afrin’s Public Health Committee announced that Turkish attacks had killed 60 civilians, among them 26 children, and wounded over 150 others.
The YPG has been fighting off the Turkish invasion of Afrin, with Washington stuck between its Syrian Kurdish partners and its NATO ally.
Minister of Forest and Water Management Veysel Eroglu spoke in line with Cavusoglu, threading on ethnic, ideological, and religious lines in Syria and Turkey.
Eroglu claimed the Kurds in Afrin “were thanking Turkey for saving them from those without religion.”
He went on claiming that Kurdish forces were “murderers, servants, and agents of the West.”
The Turkish Ministers’ comments were a continuation of a rise in religious rhetoric aimed at separating the Kurds, a majority of whom are nominal Muslims, from political movements representing them with secular aspirations.
Over the weekend, Turkey’s Parliament Speaker described the campaign in Afrin as “jihad.”
Erdogan, on his part, said the YPG and the PKK had no “religion, faith, or God,” as the country’s official Islamic body, Directorate of Religious Affairs, ordered some 90,000 mosques to pray for “conquest” until the Turkish army becomes victorious in Afrin.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany