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Turkey urges US President Donald Trump to scrap 'offensive' refugee policy

Deputy Prime Minister Of Turkey Numan Kurtulmus Called On Trump To Reconsider The Decision, Which He Said Was Motivated By Islamophobia, The Haberturk Daily Reported.

PTI | Updated on: 31 Jan 2017, 06:38:43 PM
US President Donald Trump (File photo)


A top Turkish official was quoted as criticising US President Donald Trump's immigration and refugee restrictions as "offensive". This was the first time that Ankara had criticised the controversial policy.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus called on Trump to reconsider the decision, which he said was motivated by Islamophobia, the Haberturk daily reported. "It is not possible to accept this," said Kurtulmus, whois also the chief government spokesman, according to the daily.

"The policy should be reviewed." On Friday, Trump issued an executive order that bars USentry for travellers from seven mainly Muslim countries --Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- for 90 days. Trump defended the new policy, introduced just a week after he became president and which stirred up fresh proteststhis week, by saying that it would make the United States safe from "radical Islamic terrorists."

Kurtulmus blamed rising Islamophobia, anti-immigrant feelings and xenophobia in the West for the decision, calling on the new administration to "correct" the policy. "It is extremely offensive that such a decision was madein a country like the United States which is known as a nation with all different religions and ethnic groups in a meltingpot," he said. "It is not correct. It is really a decision that triggers discrimination... None of the countries' citizens can becategorically branded as bad."

A champion of the fight against Islamophobia, Ankara had until now steered clear of explicit criticism of Trump's move, although Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Saturday warned against "putting up walls" to solve the refugee crisis. Turkey is home to some 2.7 million Syrian refugees whohave fled from the almost six-year war between rebels and President Bashar al-Assad.

Ankara has high hopes of the new American administration, seeking to amend ties that deteriorated under the Barack Obama over a number of issues including US support for SyrianKurdish militia.

Last week, US media reported that the Pentagon would begiven 90 days to craft a plan to set up "safe zones" in ornear Syria -- which Ankara said it would watch closely.

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First Published : 31 Jan 2017, 06:26:00 PM