Erdoğan names Trump, Putin among leaders he most admires

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday listed U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Qatar's Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani among the world leaders he most admires.

The Turkish president said Europe lacked an inspirational leader and he struggles to name from the continent during a Q&A with university students in the capital Ankara, Ihlas news agency reported

"When we look at Europe, there is a serious leadership crisis, a leadership vacuum," the Turkish president said. "I don't find the courage in myself to say such and such leader is exemplary in Europe."

Trump has "no hidden agenda," Erdoğan said affectionately praising him for being clear and speaking his mind. "Whether you like him or not, Mr. Trump is an important name," he added. "He says things to me in a clear and open way, and I tell him things in a very open way."

Turkey’s strongman also praised Putin, adding that that he and the Russian leader would be able to bring peace to war-torn Syria, as Putin too has "no hidden agenda."

Erdoğan went on call Qatar’s leader Al Thani a "young and dynamic leader" who stands by impoverished countries.

Prophet Mohammed and modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk were also named as Erdoğan among inspirational leaders in history.

Erdoğan also mentioned German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as personalities he admires.

Erdoğan has maintained close ties with Russia’s Putin, sparking fears in the West that the Turkish president is ready to shift his country away from its NATO allies.

Despite years of soaring tensions between Washington and Ankara, Trump, during last week’s NATO summit said he had a great relationship with Turkey, despite plans by Washington to impose sanctions on the country for buying a Russian S-400 missile defence system. 

Turkey has become a close ally and strategic partner to Qatar in recent years. Ankara dispatched emergency food supplies and troops to Qatar during the Gulf crisis of 2017 when the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and their allies placed a blockade on the country.