Turkey slams Trump’s national security advisor McMaster over ‘Islamic extremism’ remarks
Ankara has slammed U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster for stating that Turkey and Qatar have become “the main sponsors” of extremist Islamic ideologies targeting the West.
“Claims by National Security Advisor (H.R.) McMaster, who should be well aware on how our country has been fighting terrorism and all sorts of radicalism, are nonfactual, astonishing, baseless and unacceptable,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement on Dec 13.
The statement came after McMaster accused Turkey and Qatar of funding extremist Islamic ideologies during a panel held at a think tank in Washington on Dec. 12. McMaster serves as the national security advisor of President Donald Trump.
McMaster reportedly referred to Saudi Arabia’s support for some of these organizations “decades ago” but singled out Qatar and Turkey as main supporters at present.
“[It] is now done more by Qatar and by Turkey,” he said.
He also argued that Turkey had “drifted from the West” under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Foreign Ministry statement reiterated that Ankara “continues to see the U.S. as a friend and ally,” expressing its expectation of the same behavior from the Washington administration.
It also repeated Ankara’s demand from the U.S. to stop its support to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), while stressing Turkey’s “continued fight against terrorism and radicalism.”
McMaster’s remarks came as bilateral relations between Turkey and the U.S. have hit new lows over differences on the role of the YPG in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Turkey considers the YPG as a terrorist organization because of its links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while the U.S. regards it as a vital partner in the fight against ISIL.