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McMaster Revises Critical Remarks, Seeking to Reassure Turkey

U.S President Donald J. Trump’s National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster sought to alleviate jolted nerves of the Turkish leaders by pledging close cooperation against radical terrorist groups in the Middle Eastern region.

Earlier this week, Mr. McMaster, the Director of U.S. National Security Council who is expected to unveil a comprehensive national security strategy next week, raised eyebrows in Ankara after he portrayed Turkey, along with Qatar, as “main sponsors of radical ideology.”

His remarks elicited an immediate condemnation and criticism from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, which deemed such charges as “baseless and unacceptable.” In a statement, the ministry pointed to Turkey’s years-long efforts to combat extremist groups in the region.

“We recognize and support Turkey’s efforts to bolster border security, halt foreign fighters and fight Daesh, and we will continue to work together to ensure Daesh’s enduring defeat,” the advisor told official Anadolu news agency.

“As noted, we will also increase efforts with Turkey and other partners to stop extremist actors that abuse financial infrastructure across the region,” he said, according to Anadolu.

At an event in Washington, D.C., Mr. McMaster offered a sketch of the next week’s detailed strategy. During his speech, he highlighted the “radical Islamist ideology as a threat to the civilized world.”

To the chagrin of the current Turkish leadership, the advisor also said the problems between Turkey and the West mainly emanated from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

But in speaking to the Anadolu, he appeared to backtrack his remarks.

“I was making the point that the United States and Turkey can do more together to cut off the finance of those who foment hatred and violence based on irreligious ideology,” Hurriyet Daily News quoted him as saying.

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