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Saturday, December 31, 2016
No, WND, Obama Never Called Erdogan His 'Best Friend'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Leo Hohmann writes in a Dec. 17 WorldNetDaily article -- headlined "Obama mum after 'best friend' tosses U.S. pastor in prison" -- that "An American pastor in Turkey has been imprisoned on trumped-up charges and is, according to Christian human-rights advocates, in 'grave danger' of becoming a casualty of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s brutal crackdown on religious minorities and dissidents in the wake of a failed coup five months ago." Hohmann adds: "Although President Obama has repeatedly named Turkish President Erdogan as one of his 'best friends' among international leaders, he has yet to make a single public statement demanding [pastor Andrew] Brunson’s release."

Note that "best friends" is in quote marks, as if Obama directly said the words. But we could find no evidence that he has.

The closest we found was a January 2012 Foreign Policy article headlined "Obama names his world leader best buddies!" which cites a Time interview with Obama in which it is claimed Obama named "his international BFFs." But in the interview itself, Obama talks of "the friendships and the bonds of trust that I’ve been able to forge with a whole range of leaders is precisely, or is a big part of, what has allowed us to execute effective diplomacy," and lists Erdogan among those leaders.

Also note that this was in 2012, well before a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey that resulted in a harsh crackdown by Erdogan on perceived opponents. The U.S. has so far refused to hand over Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based religious leader whom Erdogan blames for inspiring the coup. And the Obama administration has lifted arms prohibitions that reportedly would allow the U.S. to arm Kurdish rebels in Syria, which Erdogan opposes.

So Hohmann is repeating a falsehood that, even if it was true at the time it was suggested, is apparently no longer operative. It makes one wonder about the accuracy of his upcoming WND-published anti-Muslim book.

Hohmann is not the first WND writer to let his hatred of Obama get ahead of the facts, and he probably won't be the last.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 AM EST

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