Trump praises Erdogan, won't criticize Turkey for crackdown

US Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump said he would not criticize ally Turkey for its crackdown following an attempted coup because the US needs to "fix our own mess" before lecturing other countries.

In an interview to The New York Times on Wednesday, a day before Trump is expected to formally accept his party's nomination, he also praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan.

"I give great credit to him for being able to turn that around," Trump said, referring to the attempted coup on Friday. "Some people say that it was staged, you know that. I don't think so."

The purge after the failed coup, which left more than 260 people dead, saw more than 50,000 civil servants fired, suspended or detained.

On Wednesday night, Turkey imposed a three-month-long state of emergency.

Asked if Erdogan was exploiting the coup attempt to get rid of his enemies, Trump did not call for restraint or for the rule of law to be observed.

"I don't think we have a right to lecture," Trump told the Times. "Look at what is happening in our country. How are we going to lecture when people are shooting policemen in cold blood?"

US President Barack Obama strongly condemned the "attempt to violently remove the democratically elected civilian government" in Turkey during a call with Erdogan.

Obama also urged "that the "investigations and prosecution of the coup's perpetrators be conducted in ways that reinforce public confidence in democratic institutions and the rule of law."

If we were elected president, Trump said in the interview that he would raise questions about the US' obligations to fellow NATO allies.

If Russia attacked the Baltic countries, for example, Trump said he would determine whether or not to assist them only after reviewing whether those countries "have fulfilled their obligations to us."

"We are going to take care of this country first, before we worry about everyone else in the world," Trump said.

The nominee has in the past suggested a diminished role for the US in NATO, saying membership costs too much.

Last update: Thu, 21/07/2016 - 11:13

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