A Turkish reporter admitted that he inaccurately quoted White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who was reported to have lavished praise on Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
A White House official told The Daily Caller Thursday that the quote in the Turkish newspaper AKSAM was “made up.” The reporter, Yavuz Atalay, admitted as much when contacted by TheDC.
The article published Thursday claimed that Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, said that Erdogan “is making Turkey bigger again like US. We watch his efforts with appreciation.”
The piece included a selfie with both Kushner and Atalay.
“He [Atalay] approached Jared for a selfie but is not quoted accurately,” a White House official told TheDC. “It’s made up.”
Atalay also claimed that Ivanka Trump told him she loves Turkey and that Jared praised Turkey’s economy. The White House did not respond to a follow-up question about Ivanka’s comments and whether the article in its entirety is a fabrication.
When asked over Twitter direct message about the White House pushback, Atalay initially refused to address the claim that he made up a quote.
“That was not an interview. I didn’t get any permit from Kushner’s office or Ivanka’s office or White House. As I mentioned in the report it was a very quick conversation with him (1-2 min.),” Atalay said.
When pressed further on whether the Kushner quote was accurate, Atalay said, “He did not say that. I asked him, ‘Do you think, Erdogan is making Turkey great again, like Trump’ and he only said, ‘Yeah, I think so.’”
A native Turkish speaker who reviewed Atalay’s article said that the reporter has a history of making bombastic claims about the Trump administration’s view of Erdogan and the Turkish government.
The source pointed to a Feb. 9 article in which Atalay reported that White House sources said that Trump told Erdogan in a phone call that he would order intelligence agencies to prepare an investigative file on Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in exile in the U.S. Erdogan has asked the U.S. government to extradite Gulen, who he considers a terrorist.
Erdogan-controlled Turkish media outlets regularly publish inaccurate reports about Gulen.
In an article published in November, Atalay reported that his sources told him that some of Gulen’s followers requested a meeting with Trump through then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence. According to Atalay, Trump declined the meeting, saying he will not sit together with terrorists. Pence passed this message on to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who then relayed the information to the Gulenists.
No other outlets have reported that chain of events.