Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton issued two contrasting statements about the suicide bombings that killed more than 30 people in Istanbul on Tuesday.
The statements underscore the candidates’ very different approaches to foreign policy – specifically concerning the growing threat of terrorism worldwide.
Trump said in his statement:
“The terrorist threat has never been greater.
“Our enemies are brutal and ruthless and will do anything to murder those who do not bend to their will. We must take steps now to protect America from terrorists, and do everything in our power to improve our security to keep America safe.”
The statement echoed comments Trump tweeted after the attacks.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s statement emphasized Turkey’s status as a US ally and the need to cooperate with other countries in the region:
“Terrorists have struck again in the heart of one of our NATO allies-and all Americans stand united with the people of Turkey against this campaign of hatred and violence. Already, stories of heroism on the part of Turkish police are emerging, as their quick actions to confront the suspects may have prevented an even worse tragedy. Today’s attack in Istanbul only strengthens our resolve to defeat the forces of terrorism and radical jihadism around the world. And it reminds us that the United States cannot retreat. We must deepen our cooperation with our allies and partners in the Middle East and Europe to take on this threat. Such cooperation is essential to protecting the homeland and keeping our country safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the Turkish people.”
The Obama administration also referenced the US’s relationship with Turkey in a statement by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest:
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s heinous terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport in Turkey, which appears to have killed and injured dozens. Ataturk International Airport, like Brussels Airport which was attacked earlier this year, is a symbol of international connections and the ties that bind us together. Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured. We remain steadfast in our support for Turkey, our NATO Ally and partner, along with all of our friends and allies around the world, as we continue to confront the threat of terrorism.”
Despite Turkey’s status as a US ally, the relationship between the two nations has been strained of late.
A study published by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic in April said that while Obama initially viewed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, in a positive light, “Obama now considers him a failure and an authoritarian, one who refuses to use his enormous army to bring stability to Syria.”