Trump reiterates previously refuted exchange claim over Brunson

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 01.09.2018 00:00

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that he was disappointed over Turkey's refusal to release the terror-linked American pastor Andrew Brunson after the U.S. helped in the release of a Turkish citizen detained in Israel, a claim previously denied by Turkish officials.

"I'm disappointed in him [Erdoğan]," 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."

Trump referred to his alleged request to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release Ebru Özkan, a Turkish citizen arrested by Israel in June while she was visiting the country as a tourist. On July 8, it indicted her in a security court for allegedly aiding Palestinian group Hamas during a visit to Jerusalem, charges her lawyer denied. She was deported a week later.

Following her release, the Washington Post reported that Trump asked Netanyahu in a July 14 phone call to let Özkan go in a "trade" for Brunson. While the Turkish side strongly rejected the claim, White House had refrained to make a clear statement on the issue.

"I got somebody back for him. I'm very disappointed in him [Erdoğan], but we'll see how it all works out," he added.

The U.S President is known for his controversial statements and claims, which have been afterward refuted by officials or fact checkers on social media.

The Star, a Toronto-based, launched a project to track every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.

According to its website, he has so far made 2,436 false statements as the U.S. president.

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