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Trump Praises 'Very Good' Erdogan in Talk With Christian Hostage Turkey Held for Almost Two Years

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Watford, U.K., December 4, 2019
U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Watford, U.K., December 4, 2019Credit: Peter Nicholls/ Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump appeared at the Republican National Convention on Monday in a taped video broadcast with six former American hostages and prisoners who had been freed from detention overseas during his presidency. In an odd moment during the conversation, Trump praised one of the hostage's captors, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his role in helping secure the hostage's release.

The six included Michael White, a Navy veteran who was imprisoned in Iran; Sam Goodwin who was held in Syria; Andrew Brunson, a pastor who was imprisoned in Turkey; Joshua and Tamara Holt, who were held in Venezuela for two years, and Pastor Bryan Nerran who was detained in India.

Brunson described the harrowing conditions he was held in for more than 21 months for the alleged crime of “Christianization” in the majority Muslim country. 

"Twenty-eight years, right? They had you scheduled for a long time, Andrew, we had to get you back, Trump said to Brunson.

Freed hostages talk with Trump during the Republican National Convention

"And, I have to say that, to me, President Erdogan was very good," Trump continued, "And, I know they had you scheduled for a long time and you were a very innocent person. And he ultimately, after we had a few conversations, he agreed. So we appreciate that and we appreciate the people of Turkey. And you still appreciate the people of Turkey. I understand, right?"

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