UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Europe needs to eliminate asylum given to members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party within European borders to crack down on the terror threat it poses, Turkey says.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told an international counter-terrorism symposium hosted in New York Monday by the U.N. Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office that the Kurdish rebel group, known by the initials PKK, is continuing to raise funds and organize in Europe.
Complaining that PKK members take advantage of European asylum laws, Davutoglu said the PKK recruits, disseminates propaganda and sell illegal drugs there to fund terrorist attacks in Turkey, the Anatolian Agency reported.
"International cooperation against terrorism cannot be selective or limited to fighting al-Qaida alone, otherwise, we will fail in our collective effort to eliminate terrorism in all its forms," he said, adding that all countries need to give "the same message, a clear message to terrorists: Namely that there is no safe haven or immunity from criminal justice."
The address came one day before three people were killed and 15 wounded in a bomb attack in Ankara, which public prosecutors described as a terrorist act, the British newspaper The Telegraph reported.
The blast, it said, happened not far from the prime minister's residence and coincided with an upsurge in attacks claimed by the PKK, which in its 30-year war against the Turkish state for Kurdish rights has left more than 40,000 people dead.
But PKK spokesman Ahmet Deniz said the group had nothing to do with Tuesday's car bombing.
The ongoing assaults by the Kurdish rebels are being aided by European asylum laws, Davutoglu contended.
"Current loopholes in legal systems and deficiencies in law enforcement agencies continue to undermine the practical strength" of international efforts against "all" terrorism, he asserted.
"A good example in this regard has to do with the need to apply much greater scrutiny in the granting of asylum. Perpetrators or supporters of terrorism cannot and should not be granted asylum, or allowed to keep this status," the foreign minister added.
Despite widespread agreements on international counter-terrorism measures, he said, "declared members of the PKK continue to benefit from and abuse the asylum status they have been granted in some European countries.
"Unless the international community shows coherent resolve in this regard, terrorists will continue to play us against one another."
The U.S. State Department last year agreed that "the presence of terrorist support networks in Europe remained a source of serious concern."
In a report by its Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, the United States noted that French authorities in 2009 detained and prosecuted suspects tied to the PKK.
But, it cautioned, "efforts to combat the threat in Europe were sometimes slowed by legal protections that made it difficult to take firm judicial action against suspected terrorists, asylum laws that afforded loopholes, the absence of adequate legislation, or standards of evidence that limited the use of classified information in holding terrorist suspects."
Terrorists, the State Department said, take advantage of the ease of travel afforded by the passport-free Schengen zone within the European Union countries.
"At times, some European states have not been able to prosecute successfully or hold some of the suspected terrorists brought before their courts -- a product, in part, of insufficient measures to use intelligence information in judicial proceedings," it said.