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Turkish FM:  Terrorists Are Terrorists - 2001-11-12


The Foreign Minister of Turkey told the United Nations Monday that the only effective way to combat global terrorism is to stop distinguishing between different types of terrorists. The Turkish official said all those who use terrorist acts to advance a political or religious cause should be treated the same, no matter what their rationale or country of origin.

Ismael Cem said his country has had to deal with terrorism for decades and therefore Turkey has an important contribution to make in this current campaign.

The Turkish Foreign Minister said terrorism is now "mankind's number one enemy," and certain principles should guide the battle against it.

The most important, according to Mr. Cem, is the rejection of any argument which attempts to distinguish between different types of terrorism. "There is a de facto distinction, an unfortunate decision, made in several countries' conceptual approach between bad terrorists who work against the particular country and the tolerated terrorists who while enjoying safe haven in the same country, incite, plan and finance and sometimes command terrorist acts in another country," Foreign Minister Cem said.

What Mr. Cem called a "double standard approach" is what he says needs to be eliminated. Specifically, he rejected claims that some people who resort to terrorist activities are in some way "freedom fighters" or "liberators." Making such a distinction, he said, reduces the ability of different countries to come together and cooperate in a united approach to fighting terrorists wherever they may be.

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