Reporter Asks Pentagon: Was Turkey Announcement Made to Cause 'Maximum Embarrassment' During Nuclear Summit?

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Mar 29, 2016 3:15 PM
Reporter Asks Pentagon: Was Turkey Announcement Made to Cause 'Maximum Embarrassment' During Nuclear Summit?

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced it was ordering U.S. military families out of Turkey, citing increased security threats in the region.

During a press briefing at the State Department Tuesday afternoon, reporters wondered why the agency decided to make this announcement now.

“The decision wasn’t taken lightly,” Kirby said. “It was the result of an ongoing assessment of security conditions.”

The decision was “several weeks in the making,” he continued.

One reporter noted the decision seemed timed to cause "maximum embarrassment" to Turkey, considering it came “smack dab” in the middle of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Washington, D.C. this week for the president’s Nuclear Security Summit.

Kirby said there was absolutely "no connection" between the Turkish leader’s presence and the Pentagon’s decision.

“It was completely considered independent of the nuclear security summit,” Kirby insisted. “This was done based on the security threat.”

A few members of the press then question Kirby about the Easter Sunday bombing in Pakistan that killed 72 people. Did the administration know that the Taliban was in the southern part of Pakistan?

“The Taliban pose a real danger to the people of Pakistan,” Kirby noted. “The Punjab area has been one worth watching.”

As for how the White House expects to respond to the carnage, Kirby referenced the White House's earlier statement condemning the attacks.

“We have been clear and open about our views on this,” Kirby said.

Except, the administration has not been as open as Kirby suggests. Katie noticed that in the State Department's initial statement, it failed to note how Christians were the target of Easter Sunday’s bloody bombing in Pakistan.

Why the hesitation?

Unfortunately, Kirby was not confronted about it.