Turkey 'opposes IS like it opposes Assad': PM

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday insisted that Turkey was opposed to Islamic State (IS) militants, who have seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, in the same way as it opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

AFP| Last Updated: Oct 10, 2014, 19:44 PM IST

Ankara: Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday insisted that Turkey was opposed to Islamic State (IS) militants, who have seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, in the same way as it opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Ankara has vehemently opposed Assad during the three-and-a-half-year Syria conflict but has been criticised for not showing greater involvement in the fight against IS extremists.

But Davutoglu said: "Turkey is against ISIS just the same way that it is against Assad."

"Assad and ISIS are both responsible for all these events and tragedies," he told reporters in Ankara using a variant of the name for IS.

He added: "No one can prove that Turkey is supporting ISIS."

Turkey has been reluctant to intervene militarily against IS jihadists trying to take the mainly Kurdish town of Kobane just across the border, despite having parliamentary authorisation for military action in Syria.

Ankara has been accused of encouraging the rise of IS with its support for Islamist-tinted rebel groups in Syria seeking to oust Assad and is now seeking a commitment from the West to move against the Syrian leader.

Davutoglu ridiculed Turkey's main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who suggested that parliament should issue a separate mandate for Turkish military action in Kobane.

"Are we going to issue a separate mandate for each province or district? It's such a ridiculous proposal," Davutoglu scoffed.