CANBERRA, Dec 8: Turkey's prime minister criticised military solutions to the so-called "war on terror" Thursday, saying the US-led invasion of Iraq had transformed the country into a training ground for extremists, report agencies.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of Turkey's first Islamist government, said military action was not an effective way to combat militants.
He said global defence budgets totalled one trillion US dollars annually, with only a fraction of that amount spent trying to eradicate extremism's root causes such as poverty, ignorance and religious intolerance.
In the first visit to Australia by a Turkish leader, Erdogan's remarks that militarism had failed in Iraq implicitly challenged Canberra's strong commitment to the US-led campaign in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.
"Militaristic approaches are not a solution in and of themselves," Erdogan said through a translator at a function held in his honour in Canberra.
"At the moment, Iraq has become a training ground for terrorism.
"As to whether a solution has been found to the situation in Iraq, we can say that that solution has not been found because tens of people die every day in Iraq, unfortunately."
Erdogan, whose government sent troops into neighbouring Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, said shared intelligence was the key to preventing extremist attacks.
"We must make sure that we dry up the swamp of terrorism and we must have a lot of intelligence sharing in order to achieve that. That is how we can combat terrorism," he said.
"I believe it can be done provided we do not refrain from sharing intelligence."
He said terrorism would remain a threat until its underlying causes were dealt with.
"How much did we spend on eradicating poverty or ignorance?" he asked.
Ergodan will remain in Australia until Sunday.
Meanwhile: Jordan's King Abdullah II Thursday urged Iraqis to elect moderates to spearhead reconstruction as he opened a tour of Asia in Japan.
Abdullah, in talks with Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, said that Iraq must bring in moderates from all its factions in the landmark December 15 election.
Abdullah met Koizumi hours before Japan was set to extend its military deployment in Iraq. Abdullah, who has been to Japan four times as king, last visited Tokyo in December 2004 -- also around the time Tokyo decided to prolong the Iraq mission.
Koizumi earlier this week met Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari who asked for an extension of the deployment.