Donald Trump has made two references to the coup against Erdogan during his interview about foreign policy to New York Times:
“HABERMAN: How closely did you watch last week as events were unfolding in Turkey with the coup? Is there anything you would have done differently in how it was handled?
TRUMP: The coup never took place — the coup was not successful, and based on the fact, and I give great credit to him for being able to turn that around.
TRUMP: Yes, some people say that it was staged. You know that?
SANGER: We’ve heard.
TRUMP: I don’t think so, but I do give great credit to him for turning it around. You know, the first hour, it seemed like it was over. Then all of a sudden, and the amazing thing is the one that won that was the people. They came out on the streets, and the army types didn’t want to drive over them like they did in Tiananmen Square when they sort of drived them over, and that was the end of that. Right? People said, I’m not going to drive over people. The people came out of their homes, and they were not in favor of what the military was doing. So that was quite impressive from the standpoint of existing government. I will say this: I think Turkey can do a lot against ISIS, and I would hope that if I’m dealing with them, they will do much more about ISIS.”
SANGER: Erdogan put nearly 50,000 people in jail or suspend them, suspended thousands of teachers, he imprisoned many in the military and the police, he dismissed a lot of the judiciary. Does this worry you? And would you rather deal with a strongman who’s also been a strong ally, or with somebody that’s got a greater appreciation of civil liberties than Mr. Erdogan has? Would you press him to make sure the rule of law applies?”
“TRUMP: I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country. We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore. When you have all of the things that are happening in this country — we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems. When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”