ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkey's foreign minister Tuesday condemned comments made last week by a U.S. congressman that the United States could "take out" Islamic holy sites if there was a nuclear attack on America by Muslim fundamentalists.
"This was nothing but a fanatic speaking completely personally, irresponsibly and without thought of how far his statements would reach or what kind of problems they would create," Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul (search) said, according to the Anatolia news agency. The Foreign Ministry confirmed Gul's remarks.
On Friday, Rep. Tom Tancredo (search), R-Colo., was asked by a talk show host how the United States should respond if terrorists struck several of its cities with nuclear weapons.
"Well, what if you said something like — if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.
"You're talking about bombing Mecca," said talk show host Pat Campbell of WFLA-AM in Orlando, Fla.
"Yeah," Tancredo responded.
The congressman later said he was "just throwing out some ideas" and that an "ultimate threat" might have to be met with an "ultimate response."
Gul said that he didn't think the people or the government of the United States shared Tancredo's view, according to Anatolia.
"This shows that this kind of fanatical person can emerge anywhere. This kind of speech is the thing we need least these days," Gul was quoted as saying. "I strongly condemn it."
Gul, foreign minister of a country that is officially 99 percent Muslim, commented on Tancredo's remarks at a joint news conference with Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
The "U.S. administration and the U.S. people do not think similarly," Anatolia quoted Gul as saying.
Tancredo spokesman Will Adams said Sunday the four-term congressman doesn't support threatening Islamic holy sites but that Tancredo was grappling with the hypothetical situation of a terrorist strike deadlier than the Sept. 11, 2001 (search), attacks.
"We have an enemy with no uniform, no state, who looks like you and me and only emerges right before an attack. How do we go after someone like that?" Adams said.
"What is near and dear to them? They're willing to sacrifice everything in this world for the next one. What is the pressure point that would deter them from their murderous impulses?" he said.