Trump’s ignorance of Turkish free speech repression leads to major gaffe - Vox

U.S. President Donald Trump was “woefully unprepared” for his reception of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the White House on Wednesday, and the meeting has only heightened concerns about rights and freedoms in Turkey, security reporter Jen Kirby wrote for Vox.

Trump hosted Erdoğan in Washington despite widespread condemnation of the Turkish president over his offensive in northern Syria and other policies that contradict the United States’ position.

The U.S. president went on to parrot Erdoğan’s talking points on these issues, but it was his ignorance of the domestic political scene in Turkey, where Erdoğan has unleashed a harsh crackdown on dissenters, that really stood out, Kirby said.

Turkey is widely known as the leading jailer of journalists in the world, so when Trump joked at the press conference after the meeting that he wanted “a friendly person from Turkey” to ask Erdoğan a question, it was a low point in an already poor display, according to the journalist.

“Cracking a joke about friendly reporters next to a leader who’s openly hostile to freedom of the press, and has so far acted without restraint to crackdown on dissent, is still a jarring scene for a US president,” she said.

Trump made his remark about friendly journalists after Erdoğan accepted a question from Hilal Kaplan, a columnist of the Sabah newspaper owned by the Turkuvaz Media Group. Turkuvaz is chaired by Serhat Albayrak, the brother of Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also Erdoğan’s son-in-law.