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

Davutoglu said there were '360 degrees of difference' between Turkey's brand of Islam and that of the Islamic State militants
Turkish Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu during a press conferencein Istanbul, Turkey on 14 October 2015 (AA)

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu faced mockery on Thursday after saying there were "360 degrees of difference" between Turkey's brand of Islam and that of the Islamic State militant group.

Davutoglu made the apparent gaffe on Turkish television while seeking to rebut claims that the government's failure to crack down on IS militants was responsible for double bombings on Saturday 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," Davutoglu told Show TV late Wednesday, using another name for IS.

"One (IS) is exclusionary and the other (Turkey) is tolerant and is an example of how Islam and democracy could coexist," he said. 

The opposition and bloggers were quick to point out that 360 degrees implies a full circle - the opposite of what Davutoglu 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), wrote on Twitter. 

Strategic Depth is a well-known book on Turkish foreign policy by 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, disappoints 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 IS.

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.