Donald Trump repeatedly mispronounces President Erdogan's name during Turkish leader's visit

Mr Trump did not address human rights concerns about the Turkish president's visit

Emily Shugerman
New York
Wednesday 17 May 2017 20:42
Donald Trump can't pronounce President Erdogan's name

President Donald Trump welcomed his “honored” guest, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House recently, but forgot one important thing: how to pronounce his visitor's name.

In a joint press conference with the Turkish president, Mr Trump repeatedly mispronounced Mr Erdogan’s name, saying it with a hard “g” instead of the soft “w” sound used in many Turkish words.

Reporters covering the press conference quickly took note.

“Has no one told POTUS how to pronounce Erdogan?” tweeted NBC’s Katy Turr.

“Someone should have told @realDonaldTrump that Erdogan is pronounced ‘Er-do-wan’, not ‘Air-da-gahn,’” said Boston Globe reporter Kimberly Atkins.

The meeting was controversial for other, more substantial reasons, however.

Mr Erdogan is seen by many as an increasingly authoritarian ruler, extending his control over Turkey past the bounds of their democratic system. Former President Barack Obama maintained a strained relationship with the Turkish leader, which further deteriorated after the failure of a violent coup attempt last summer.

Mr Edogan recently lead a country-wide referendum to cement his rule and consolidate much of the government’s power under his office. Mr Trump called to congratulate him on the referendum’s passage last month, even as independent experts disputed the vote’s authenticity.

However, the US president also drew Turkey's ire by election to arm Kurdish militias in Syria in order to push Isis out. Mr Erdogan's government sees the Kurdish forces as terrorists.

The day of Mr Erdogan’s visit, nine people were injured in protests outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, DC. They were said to be protesting Mr Erdogan's policies in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

Neither leader mentioned these issues in their joint press conference. Instead, both stuck mainly to comments about terrorism and the fight against Isis.

“I look forward to working together with President Erdogan on achieving peace and security in the Middle East, on confronting the shared threats, and on working toward a future of dignity and safety for all of our people,” Mr Trump said.

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