There is no connection between jihad and terrorism, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said yesterday, adding that suggestions to the contrary come from American neo-cons and Israelis.
“Jihad is the name of fighting for our honor if required but firstly it means fighting against our own self’s limits, according to us,” Davutoğlu said yesterday in Istanbul at the headquarters of the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD), where he attended the conference “Turkey in the light of international developments, 2013.”
“For us, jihad is a sacred notion; let us not taint this notion by using it like neo-cons and pro-Israelis in America,” Davutoğlu said while condemning an opposition party deputy who asked the Turkish government on its policy regarding the jihadist movement in Syria at a Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission meeting on Feb. 15.
Davutoğlu also criticized the particular deputy for asking question in English instead of Turkish since the session was held in the Turkish Assembly, albeit with EU officials.
“A mentality has appeared now that is tainting these notions [of jihad]; they have introduced [this usage] into our culture, and they even use it in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, which was founded with help that came from a jihad fatwa [during Turkey’s Liberation War],” Davutoğlu said.
Davutoğlu also told an anecdote about a Turkish diplomat named Cihad Erginay – who is Turkey’s envoy to the Czech Republic – in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
“His name is also jihad; the ones who greeted him in the airport were walking behind and yelled at him ‘Cihat,’ then everybody hits the deck,” Davutoğlu said, adding that this was part of the outcome of the misunderstanding of the word jihad.
Question over al-Nusra front
Meanwhile, Aykan Erdemir, a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy told the Daily News on the phone yesterday that he was the one to ask Davutoğlu if Turkey considered the al-Nusra Front in Syria, which identifies itself a jihadist movement, as a terrorist organization like the U.S. and NATO do.
“It was a yes or no question; in not answering it, he called me an Orientalist, which is total defamation. Does he also blame al-Nusra for Orientalism? Do you count this organization as a terrorist organization or not, that was the question. The Turkish public must be informed about Turkey’s position,” Erdemir said.