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Scandals during interpretations of Erdogan’s remarks into English! But how is this possible?

Ilhan Tanir

Ela Gonca İzmirli

During the joint statement session with the US President Donald Trump in the White House, President Tayyip Erdogan’s sentence about fighting terrorist organizations was mistranslated to mean exactly the opposite of what he intended to say.

In his speech, President Erdogan said, “I hope to see some of the steps taken to be continued to compensate for past mistakes in combating terrorist organizations in the future.” This was an explicit message from Erdogan to the US and was indirectly citing his past criticisms of the US working with groups like YPG. Erdogan, in that sentence, was warning the USA that the previous policies (i.e. Obama admin’s) were wrong and that some of the policies now being implemented by Trump to repair those and he expects the US to course correct.

However, the interpreter translated the sentence as:”And we know that in terms of keeping up with the principled and committed terrorist organizations, we will not repeat the mistakes of the past, and we will continue to this path It is together.” indicating a more amiable and conciliatory approach.

Turkey has long been accused of turning a blind eye to the jihadists crossing the Turkish border to fight the Assad regime in Syria in the Western media. Translation of President Erdogan’s words sounded like Turkey realized this mistake and would like to act in a way that is more aligned with the US and its Western allies in the future.

Minute 10.50

Second Mistake!

In another interpretation mistake (!), while Erdogan clearly called YPG and PYD as ”terrorist organizations should not be taken as counterparts” in Turkish, and it was interpreted while omitting ”terrorist organizations” part by translator and said ”taken into consideration” which also has a different meaning.

But how?

It is not clear how such a mistake can happen, as it was a pre-written and a pre-translated statement.

Erdogan’s Turkish remarks surely will make his constituency in Turkey but accidentally his English remarks would make the Trump administration happy.

After the bilateral talks, which reportedly lasted for 22 minutes, negotiations were passed onto the delegations.

Among the delegations, Trump’s son-in-law and chief advisor Jared Kushner and Erdogan’s son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak were seen to sit across the table from each other.

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