Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesperson Selin Sayek Böke has complained about the lack of a strong fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Turkey as she called on the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government to wage a serious battle against the terrorist organization.
“We cannot talk of a systematic fight against ISIL cells in Turkey. ISIS organizes picnics in the center of İstanbul,” Böke told reporters at party headquarters on Wednesday.
The CHP spokesperson’s remarks came following an operation in which Turkish special forces, tanks and jets backed by warplanes from the US-led coalition launched their first coordinated offensive into Syria to try to drive ISIL from the border and prevent further gains by Kurdish militia fighters.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation was targeting ISIL and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), whose gains in northern Syria have alarmed Turkey.
In her speech Böke accused the AK Party government of turning a blind eye to ISIL’s growth and activities instead of waging an all-out war against it.
“The government has not yet disclosed any plan foreseeing an all-out war against ISIL. I would like to reiterate my party’s call to the government once again from here. ISIL continues to be a serious threat for our region and for Turkey. ISIL is a monster.
Unfortunately, [Turkey] has been late to fight against this monster here and abroad,” said Böke.
The CHP spokesperson said the government should not only fight against ISIL in Jarablus but also on Turkish soil.
NATO member Turkey has suffered a string of attacks this year carried out by ISIL militants, who cross the border from neighboring Syria with relative ease.
A suspected ISIL suicide bomber who attacked a wedding ceremony in Turkey’s Gaziantep province on Saturday claimed the lives of 54 people.
Three suspected ISIL suicide bombers killed 44 people at İstanbul’s main airport in July, the deadliest in a string of attacks in Turkey this year. Almost 40 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Ankara in March that was claimed by a pro-Kurdish group.
The Turkish government has long been receiving criticism from opposition parties in Turkey and other countries for turning to a blind eye to ISIL’s activities and facilitating the passage of ISIL militants from its borders.
ISIL suspects who are detained in Turkey are usually released immediately.