U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump had “nothing but praise” for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and didn’t believe the coup against his government was staged, according to an interview he gave The New York Times in Cleveland last night.
“I give great credit to him for being able to turn that around,” Mr. Trump said of the coup attempt on Friday night. “Some people say that it was staged, you know that,” he said in the interview. “I don’t think so.”
When the interviewer asked Trump if he believed that Erdogan was exploiting the coup attempt to purge his political enemies, Trump deflected the answer and criticized the nation he wishes to lead in January of 2017, saying that the United States wasn’t a good messenger of moral authority over other countries.
“When the world sees how bad the United States is and we start talking about civil liberties, I don’t think we are a very good messenger,” he said.
Trump told the NYTimes reporter that he was convinced that he could convince Erdogan to spend more emphasis on fighting ISIS.
When posed with the question of how he would handle the issue of the Kurds— currently supported by the United States in the efforts against the Islamic State but constantly being attacked by Turkey in the process— Trump said his solution was “meetings”.
The interview also included other topics of interest, including Civil War in Syria and a statement that should worry European leaders and NATO generals.
He suggested that, as president, he would not automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of NATO the assurance that the full force of the United States military has their back.
For example, asked about Russia’s threatening activities that have unnerved the small Baltic States that are among the more recent entrants into NATO, Mr. Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing whether those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”
The full New York Times interview is here.