Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is “as much a terrorist as” Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Mazloum Kobani.
Soylu’s remarks came following the killing of Baghdadi in an overnight raid by the U.S. in Syria’s Idlib on Oct. 26.
“This is a great victory won against a terrorist. There are still several troublesome issues. With all due respect, Ferhat Abdi Şahin is as much a terrorist as Baghdadi. This is loud and clear,” Soylu said on Oct. 28, as he referred to the real name of Kobani.
Kobani is the source of a rift between Turkey and the U.S., with the former urging the latter to extradite him.
Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring was carried out against the SDF, of which the leading group is the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – the Syrian affiliate of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey has been battling the PKK, which is designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara, Washington and the European Union, for over 35 years.
Ankara is seeking Kobani with a red warrant and has criticized U.S. authorities for being in touch with him.
On Oct. 28, Turkey’s Justice Ministry has sent a letter of extradition request to the Foreign Ministry to be sent to the U.S.
During his speech, Soylu also slammed the U.S.
“He [Kobani] is a villain and a murderer and the states that are states of law can’t accept him as a party,” he said.
Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, meanwhile, praised the killing of Baghdadi, while also urging a thorough investigation about his movements within Syria.
“There should be a thorough investigation about the movement of the DAESH leader within Syria and eventually to Idlib. Those responsible for helping, abetting, and tolerating such movements need to be investigated and brought to justice,” Altun tweeted on Oct. 28, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.