US & Turkey Announce $200 Million Counterterrorism Fund

Turkishweekly Net – 28.9.2013 – The US and Turkey announced Friday the creation of a $200 million fund to combat radicalization, focusing on “support training and other capacity-building initiatives in countering violent extremism and in strengthening the rule of law,” according to US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN in New York, Kerry said, “We’ve mobilized more than $200 million to support training and other capacity-building initiatives in countering violent extremism and in strengthening the rule of law. I’m pleased to announce that the United States plans to commit an additional $30 million to address these priorities.” Titled the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience, the fund will bring together both governmental and non-governmental agencies to fight the threat of radicalization.

Co-chaired by the US and Turkey, the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) “identifies urgent needs, devises solutions, and mobilizes resources for addressing key [counterterrorism] challenges facing civilian institutions. With its primary focus on countering violent extremism and strengthening criminal justice and other rule of law institutions that deal with terrorism, the GCTF aims to diminish terrorist recruitment and increase countries’ capabilities for dealing with terrorist threats within their borders and regions,” according to a State Department handout.Kerry added that the GCTF works to address the root causes of radicalization, rather than solely responding to terrorist attacks and organizations. “Getting this right isn’t just about taking terrorists off the street. It’s about providing more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment. […] So this is about building institutions that provide security and liberty for citizens, and it’s about challenging the narrative of violence that is used to justify the slaughtering of innocent people,” he said. He recalled the bombing of the US’s embassy in Ankara earlier this year, and thanked Turkey for its assistance in combatting extremism.

“On the day that I was sworn in as Secretary of State, a suicide bomber in Ankara took the life of a Turkish guard at the U.S. Embassy. His name was Mustafa Akarsu. So we know this is a shared struggle, and Turkey has been and will continue to be a very valued partner in this effort.”

For his part, Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, emphasized the need for new approaches to deal with extremism, as its dangers become more complex.”New trends such as the threat from self-radicalized individuals, growing exchange among locally active terrorist groups, and the increasing number of attacks on economically or otherwise sensitive infrastructure requires dexterity in our responses.”

He added, “While new approaches do not necessarily mean ignoring the lessons we had learned, they require political will, structural capacity, and most importantly, support of our people who trust us, the governments to provide for their security. I am confident that our cooperation in the GCTF could harness this support. In that regard, we believe the initiative of our U.S. co-chair regarding the establishment of a Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience is an exemplary effort.”