Turkish prime minister has condemned the use of phrase “Islamic radical terrorism” by President Donald J. Trump, describing it a “divisive language” and warning against alienating nearly 2 billion Muslims worldwide.
“The Islamic State terrorists are no Muslims, and they’ve targeted far more Muslims than any other group. They’re just murderers,” Mr. Yildirim told a group of American journalists on Thursday.
Mr. Trump had frequently used the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” uttering it during campaign rallies with a special emphasis while criticizing the Obama administration for being “politically correct.” Former President Barack Obama said in the past that using the phrase does not help fight against extremism and that it helps radical groups recruit and radicalize Muslims worldwide. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton preferred using “jihadists” and avoided using “Islamic terrorism.”
Despite warnings by White House national security adviser H.R. MacMaster, Mr. Trump used the term during his address to the joint session of the U.S. Congress last month.
Mr. Yildirim said Turkey, like most other Muslim nations, is an ally, and “having a negative thought against (Muslims) should not go hand-in-hand.”
“If you mention a religion in the same sentence as terrorism, then the followers of that religion — in this case two billion people — will be offended. When you use the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism,’ all Muslims are offended,” the Turkish leader warned.
He noted that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will highlight this issue during his upcoming meeting with Mr. Trump.
In a separate interview with the AP, Mr. Yildirim said Turkey would be happy “if our friends were to be a bit more cautious about this issue.”
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