World Bulletin / News Desk
A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman has said that a new international coalition initiated by Saudi Arabia and including many other Muslim countries to fight terrorism is not a "military structure".
Speaking during a press conference at the ministry in Ankara, Tanju Bilgic said: "I can say that this coalition will not be a military structure. It is not on the agenda.
"The military and intelligence cooperation in the fight against ISIL is essential but there is an ideological dimension of the fight against terrorism. These struggles should be coordinated so that Islam will not be identified with terrorism," he added.
He said that the unity of Muslim countries would be a response to those who are trying to identify the religion of Islam with terrorism.
Relations with Russia
Bilgic said that meeting a Russian government request for an apology and damages over the shooting down of a Russian warplane would be "impossible".
Turkish jets shot down a Russian SU-24 warplane near the Syrian border on Nov. 24 for violating Turkey’s airspace, despite repeated warnings.
Bilgic said: "It is impossible to cover the expenses [apology, punishment of the responsible people and claim for damages] that Russia demands.
"If the Russian Federation guarantees that they will not violate Turkish airspace once again, they will not encounter this kind of situation," he added, saying that Turkey did not harbor hostility towards military targets in Russia.
Re-organizing Turkish troops in in northern Iraq
"Our troops in Bashiqa do not pose a threat to the territorial integrity of Iraq", Bilgic said, adding that the forces there will be re-organized when the "dynamic situation and threats change".
"One would wish that Iraq could completely eliminate the PKK and ISIL on their territory and Turkey would not take any military risk," Bilgic added.
Relations with Israel
About relations with Israel, Bilgic said that ties would improve if they cover requests such as an apology and compensation over the 2011 Mavi Marmara incident plus the removal of the blockade against Gaza.
Bilgic also commented on the honorary citizenship bestowed upon imprisoned PKK head Abdullah Ocalan by the Italian city of Palermo on Dec. 14. The Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman described it as "nonsense and unacceptable".