President Donald Trump said he felt personally let down by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his refusal to release an American evangelical pastor after the U.S. had helped a Turkish citizen detained in Israel.
“I’m disappointed in him,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News, after initially declining to comment because the episode was “too dear to my heart.”
“I got somebody back for him,” Trump said. “I’m very disappointed in him, but we’ll see how it all works out.”
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have escalated in recent months over the detention of Andrew Brunson, a Christian evangelical pastor facing terrorism-related charges tied to the failed 2016 coup. The U.S. slapped sanctions on Turkish government ministers earlier this month, and Turkey has retaliated with tariffs.
The spat has deepened troubles for the already struggling Turkish economy, and helped drive a more than 40 percent decline in the lira this year.
SOURCE: John Micklethwait, Jennifer Jacobs, and Margaret Talev