By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
A senior leader of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party said Wednesday other countries should learn from the U.K. on how to handle terrorists.
Mehdi Eker, the party's deputy chairman, is in London to hold a series of meetings with British journalists and representatives of the civil society. He will also attend a panel discussion on Syria as a speaker.
Speaking to Turkish journalists after meeting the British press, Eker praised the decision by the British government to charge terrorists who had returned from foreign countries with terror-related offenses.
"[This is a] significant decision in the fight against global terrorism... I hope this example is taken by other European countries and the U.S.," he said.
Two British men, Jim Matthews and Aiden James, have recently appeared in court after being charged with terror-related offenses by prosecutors after being arrested upon their return to the U.K.
Eker, who is also a former cabinet minister and Istanbul MP, said the U.K. was also targeted by terrorism despite the fact that it is an island state.
“Terror is a universal form of evil,” he said.
“It is not a situation that affects only a specific region, country or society. It is important to understand that. It is a big mistake to think it [terror] only harms others.”
Eker said he had responded to the British media’s questions about the ongoing Olive Branch Operation launched on Jan. 20 in northern Syria and Turkey-U.K. cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
He said they have explained the terrorist activities of the PKK in Turkey and also how PYD and YPG caused disinformation through propaganda with fake news and photos.
Referring to a booklet provided by the Turkish Prime Ministry’s Directorate of Press and Information, which was shared with British journalists, Eker said: “It is a significant work.” The booklet gives example of the terrorist organization’s propaganda through fake news and photos by explaining where those photos were originally published.
Eker will speak Wednesday evening in “The war in Syria: Is the territorial integrity of Syria unfeasible now?" panel organized by the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) at the House of Commons.