Trump’s son goes hunting in Turkey amid signs of amity

Trump’s son goes hunting in Turkey amid signs of amity
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President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE’s eldest son went hunting in Turkey this week, as the next president appears to be making inroads with the government in Ankara.

Donald Trump Jr., 38, went hunting near the resort city of Antalya along Turkey’s southern coast, the Dogan News Agency reported on Wednesday.

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He was reportedly accompanied by several guides and shot two wild goats before leaving the country for Germany on Tuesday morning.

Trump Jr. is an avid game hunter who, along with his younger brother Eric, was the target of criticism during the election for posing in pictures next to a dead elephant and buffalo.

The new hunting trip comes as the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may be sensing an opening with the incoming Trump administration.

Erdoğan had a complex relationship with President Obama that has been defined in large part by efforts to stem the chaos in neighboring Syria and Turkey’s status as a NATO ally. The Islamist president survived a coup attempt earlier this year and in the months since has escalated a creep towards authoritarianism, with new crackdowns on the press and political opponents.

Trump appears to be less likely to publicly criticize Turkey for alleged human rights abuses.  

“I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country,” Trump told The New York Times in July.

“We need allies,” he added. “I don’t know that we have a right to lecture.”

He may be especially more accommodating on the key issue of Fethullah Gulen, a cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania whom Erdoğan has blamed for orchestrating the coup attempt from afar. Trump’s choice for national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, has advocated in an op-ed for The Hill for extraditing Gulen back to Turkey to face charges there.

“We need to see the world from Turkey’s perspective," Flynn wrote in the op-ed. "What would we have done if right after 9/11 we heard the news that Osama bin Laden lives in a nice villa at a Turkish resort while running 160 charter schools funded by the Turkish taxpayers?"

Erdoğan appears to have welcomed the approach.

Following Trump’s election, Erdoğan called protests of the president-elect in the U.S. and Europe “a disrespect to democracy.”

“First and foremost, those who believe in the ballot need to have respect” for the results, he told the Israeli Channel 2.

“If they don’t, then this means they don’t understand democracy, they can’t tolerate it and they don’t have respect for it.”