During the course of an interview on MSNBC, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking through a translator, was asked by interviewer Ayman Mohyeldin: “If Donald Trump becomes president, would you advise Turkish citizens, or recommend to Turkish citizens, no longer to come to the U.S., since he’s calling on a ban of Muslims coming into the United States?”
It was a bizarre and obviously loaded question since Trump is not calling for “a ban of Muslims coming into the United States.” Granted that Trump’s position on Muslim immigration has changed a few times during the campaign, not even his original, toughest stance could fairly have been described as a total ban on Muslims even visiting the United States.
Erdogan played along and replied that he didn’t think such a ban was “remotely possible,” although his answer boils down to saying he thinks any such restriction would be politically impossible for Trump to get passed, and he thinks it wasn’t a serious proposal to begin with:
Well, I don’t think that this is remotely possible, because politics is a marathon, and it’s a long process. Many things can be said throughout the rallies before elections, and things will turn out to be very different post-elections.
No politician in this world is confined to their own local grounds.
Erdogan went on to say he had no preference between Trump or Hillary Clinton during the general election, displaying an impressive understanding of American journalism by declaring, “You are entrapping me. I’m not going to fall into that trap.”
“The best thing for me is to see the will of the people being served in the United States. The choice of the American people will be the right choice. I believe democracy more than anything else.”
Also during the interview, Erdogan blamed the attack on a U.N. aid convoy earlier this week squarely upon Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his regime and dismissed the ceasefire agreement between Russia and the United States as a “stillborn baby.”
He also reiterated Turkey’s view of Syrian Kurds as “terrorists,” or the allies of terrorists, linking them to the Kurdish PKK separatists in Turkey.
“There is no good terrorists or bad terrorists. All of the terrorists are bad,” Erdogan said.
A similar conviction animated his response to questions about his crackdown against opposition journalists, declaring himself willing to “tolerate criticism” but “never terrorism.”
Erdogan insisted that the hundred or so media outlets he’s shut down in Turkey were trying to help “terrorist organizations to topple the government and destroy the constitutional order.”
It seems like only yesterday that the American media was hammering Trump for being too supportive of Erdogan and his government. Now they are goading Erdogan by telling him Trump is an anti-Muslim ogre, knowing that Erdogan envisions Turkey as a force equal to Iran and Saudi Arabia in the stewardship of global Islam.
If MSNBC really wanted to start a fight between the Turkish president and the Republican candidate, they should have tried reminding Erdogan that Trump has described himself as “a big fan of the Kurdish forces.”