Turkish PM mocked over '360 degrees difference from ISIS' slip

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been ridiculed after he said that there was "360 degrees of difference" between Turkey's brand of Islam and that of ISIS.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been ridiculed after he said that there was "360 degrees of difference" between Turkey's brand of Islam and that of ISIS. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu faced mockery on Thursday (Oct 16) over his grasp of both geopolitics and geometry, after saying there was "360 degrees of difference" between Turkey's brand of Islam and that of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group.

Mr Davutoglu made the apparent gaffe on Turkish television while seeking to rebut claims that the government's failure to crack down on ISIS jihadists was responsible for double bombings on Saturday (Oct 10) in Ankara that killed 99 people.

"There is a 360-degree, not 180-degree, difference between the Islam we defend and what Daesh has on its mind," Mr Davutoglu told Show TV late on Wednesday (Oct 14), using another name for the ISIS group.

"One (ISIS) is exclusionary and the other (Turkey) is tolerant and is an example of how Islam and democracy could co-exist," he said.

The opposition and bloggers were quick to point out that 360 degrees implies a full circle - the opposite of what Mr Davutoglu apparently wanted to say.

"It's very clear what happened to the strategic depth, now it's the turn for the geometrical depth," quipped Idris Baluken, a lawmaker with the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP), on Twitter.

Strategic Depth is a well known book on Turkish foreign policy by Mr Davutoglu, a former academic.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) shared a dictionary definition of the term "360-degree" on its official Twitter account with the caption, "Education is a must."

"Believed to be more effective than 180 degrees, refers to extreme contrasts in politics, disappoint when one realises that it means 'zero difference'," it sarcastically wrote.

Turkey was long accused by its Nato allies of not taking a tougher line against ISIS as the group seized swathes of northern Iraq and Syria and battled Kurdish militias.

Mr Davutoglu also drew ridicule at the weekend when he said in his first remarks after the Ankara bombings that the suicide bomber in a July attack in the border town of Suruc that killed 34 people had been "caught and brought to justice".

"As prime minister, without shame, you said you arrested the perpetrator of Suruc bombing," said HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas.

"In fact he blew up into pieces. Is it possible that any good can come from someone who lies like this when addressing his nation?" he said.