Turkish politicians were quick to welcome the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the US.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu went first, congraulating Trump and Tweeting that Ankara would strengthen its “trust-based relations and cooperation“ with the US.
Binali Yildirim, the prime minister followed, offering his congratulations in a speech in Ankara. He added that the extradition by the US of cleric Fethullah Gulen, seen in Turkey as the driving force behind a failed coup this summer, would improve relations.
“A new page will be opened for Turkish- US friendship if you soon hand over the terror group leader who has harmed the friendship between the U.S. and Turkey,“ he said. Gulen has denied any role in the insurrection.
President Tayyip Erdogan also responded positively to the result in a speech, noting:
“I hope that this choice of the American people will lead to beneficial steps being taken for the world concerning basic rights and freedoms, democracy and developments in our region“
It seems the feeling is entirely reciprocal – Trump said in an interview with the New York Times in July that Erdogan deserved “great credit” for dealing with the attempted coup. He added that he did not think the US was in a position to “lecture” other countries about human rights and that it should focus on fixing “our own mess”.
In the same breath he observed that the US needs allies in the fight against ISIL and that Turkey could be an effective force in that battle.
Relations with Clinton were never so strong. Erdogan refered to the Democratic candidate as a “political novice” when she suggested arming Syrian Kurdish forces, which Turkey classes as terrorist militias.