Trump gives his 'friend' Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan 'very high marks'
President Trump referred to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a "friend" during a press conference in New York as part of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
"He's become a friend of mine," Trump said in a pool report. "We have a great friendship as countries. I think we're, right now, as close as we have ever been. And a lot of that has to do with the personal relationship."
Trump opened his remarks Thursday by introducing Erdogan, saying he is "running a very difficult part of the world. He has evolved very strongly, and frankly, he's getting very high marks."
Erdogan, through a translator, referred to Trump as "my dear friend Donald" in another pool report.
Trump did not respond to a question about his message to Erdogan on violence against peaceful protestors during Erdogan's visit to Washington, D.C., in May.
Erdogan said on Tuesday that Trump called him after 19 people, including 15 members of Erdogan's security detail, were indicted for attacking peaceful protesters outside of the country's embassy.
On Monday, the Trump administration blocked the sale of weapons to Turkey, which it was in the process of buying when the attack occurred.
As leader of Turkey, Erdogan has been criticised for consolidating power. After the country passed a controversial amendment in April that expanded executive power and eliminated the prime ministership, Trump called to congratulate Erdogan. The referendum was criticized by election monitors for not meeting international standards.