So said Egemen Bağış, Turkey’s Minister for European Union Affairs, last night at a British function. There are two problems with this statement, and they say a lot about both Bağış and Turkey.

  • What al-Qaeda is to the West, it should also be to Turkey. Alas, Bağış did not misspeak. Cuneyd Zapsu, an adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, donated money to an Al Qaeda financier, whom Erdoğan subsequently endorsed.
  • Bağış is a cheerleader for Hamas. It is impossible to define the PKK as a terrorist group and yet exculpate Hamas.

Bağış has never been known for his consistency. Rather than ignore it, however, it is time that any government serious about counter-terrorism tells Turkey that if it wants sympathy and cooperation, it must itself first stop legitimizing and funding terrorism.

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