Ladies and gentlemen,
We meet today to discuss an important issue, one that came at the center of debate by researchers and the whole world for years. This is the issue of cooperation, coordination and continual dialogue between the countries of the Mediterranean, especially on common problems. Terrorism is right at the top of these problems.
Terrorists and their financiers benefited a lot from political and ideological differences between countries in our contemporary world.
For example, while Arab states suffered an upsurge in terrorist attacks in the 1980s and 1990s, some of them against state institutions, tourist establishments and Christian citizens in Egypt, some European states, the UK in particular, viewed terrorists as freedom fighters, even as they were a mere bunch of armed men.
The same terrorists were given the right to political asylum. They were allowed to organize conferences and attend hearing sessions in elected parliaments, including in the British House of Commons.
European media conducted interviews with the same terrorists and allowed them to express their views in which they denigrated the faith of governments and those who were different from them.
Sorrowfully enough, major media outlets, such as BBC, continue to call terrorists who stage attacks against the Egyptian army and police in Sinai “militants”. However, if someone stabs a British citizen or drives over some British pedestrians on one of the streets of London, the same media outlets immediately call this person a “terrorist”. The terrorists make the best use of this.
If a politician calls for suppressing women, spreading hate against those who are different and barring music and the arts on religious grounds, this is considered a crime against civilization and humanity in the West. A politician accused of making this is never allowed to win elections. Marine Le Pen is a case in point in this regard.
Nevertheless, some senior writers who write in major European newspapers, such as Robert Fisk who writes for the British newspaper, Independent, consider Mohamed Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who harbored the same racist views, a democratically elected president who has to be supported and considered a victim, even if he dies in a natural manner.
Such writers do this only to score a political point, even without verifying what they write. The 2012 elections, which Morsi won, were full of infringements. Christian citizens were prevented from voting in the elections by the force of arms.
Unifying conceptions by the East and the West is becoming an urgent thing. This is especially true when it comes to issues where there is a lot of controversy. This controversy always benefits the terrorists, their financiers and extremists.
I also want to talk about the tactics of the terrorists these days. The terrorists always exploit the weakness of the security apparatus in some areas or political unrest in the same areas in order to take root and grow. After doing this, the terrorists turn these areas into springboards for their expansion. Iraq and Syria were clear examples in this regard.
Last week, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) used tensions between Pakistan and India in declaring its state in the disputed Kashmir region.
When the so-called Arab Spring occurred, Europeans were enthusiastic for it. We, however, warned that the spring aims to create areas full of unrest so that they can turn into fertile soils for the growth of terrorist organizations. Nobody believed us then. The Europeans did not believe us because they believed what some Western writers wrote then. These writers used to view the Arab Spring political forces as freedom fighters.
ISIS expanded in the Arab region and then attacked a number of European states.
International cooperation, not only within the Mediterranean basin, has become extremely important for the fight against terrorism and its financiers, especially in the following areas:
1 – Intelligence cooperation and the exchange of information
2 – Security and military cooperation in chasing terrorists and denying them safe refuge
3 – Technical and economic cooperation, especially in conflict zones, such as Yemen, Libya and Sinai in Egypt, this cooperation has to include strong support to state institutions so that they can win the fight against terrorism. Without this cooperation, we will be in a big trouble, one that will harm us all.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thanks so much for coming here.