President Obama’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said Thursday that President Trump had “endorsed ethnic cleansing” when he told reporters that the Turkish government “had to have [northern Syria] cleaned out,” referring to an area in northern Syria that is home to thousands of Kurdish civilians and Kurdish forces that assisted a U.S.-backed coalition against ISIS.
Turkish military forces have been accused of committing a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” against the Kurds as thousands of civilians flee the conflict.
Trump lavished praise Thursday on his “friend” and “hell of a leader” Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Turkish president launched the military incursion into northeast Syria.
“For many, many years, Turkey, in all fairness, they’ve had a legitimate problem” with northeast Syria, where the Kurds are settled, Trump said in remarks in Texas ahead of his rally in Dallas. “They had terrorists, they had a lot of people in there they couldn’t have …. and they had to have it cleaned out.”
Power responded on Twitter, calling Trump’s remark a direct endorsement of “ethnic cleansing.”
The President of the United States has endorsed ethnic cleansing. https://t.co/DkjtQYcg6V
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) October 17, 2019
NBC News Chief Global Correspondent Bill Neely tweeted: “If this isn’t an endorsement of ethnic cleansing, what is? “They had to have it cleaned out” says President Trump of the Turks desire to get rid of Kurds from their Southern border.”
If this isn’t an endorsement of ethnic cleansing, what is? “They had to have it cleaned out” says @realDonaldTrump of the Turks desire to get rid of Kurds from their Southern border. https://t.co/VRd4deSjZp
— Bill Neely (@BillNeelyNBC) October 17, 2019
Former Deputy National Security for President Obama, Ben Rhodes, tweeted: “He’s talking about ethnic cleansing using the language of ethnic cleansing.”
He’s talking about ethnic cleansing using the language of ethnic cleansing. https://t.co/VNoIqES6g5
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) October 17, 2019
Michael McFaul, former United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, tweeted: “It’s called ethnic cleansing. Our president just endorsed it. Shocking.”
Its called ethnic cleansing. Our president just endorsed it. Shocking. https://t.co/YyPKZA1B9i
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) October 17, 2019
Cleaned out, as in cleansed.
As in ethnic cleansing. https://t.co/jjHJekMBIe
— Glenda Gilmore (@GilmoreGlenda) October 17, 2019