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The Turkish Foreign Minister Trolled the New York Times Over a Coup Article

Turkey’s foreign minister criticized a New York Times article, accusing the newspaper of wishing the coup attempt had worked.

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu listends to the Portuguese foreign minister during a press conference following their meeting at Necessidades Palace in Lisbon on July 27, 2015. After months of hesitation, Turkey started to take decisive action against Islamic State jihadists and has seized the chance to also attack Kurdish militants in strikes that put a fragile peace process at risk. AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA        (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu listends to the Portuguese foreign minister during a press conference following their meeting at Necessidades Palace in Lisbon on July 27, 2015. After months of hesitation, Turkey started to take decisive action against Islamic State jihadists and has seized the chance to also attack Kurdish militants in strikes that put a fragile peace process at risk. AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Turkish government isn’t exactly known for having a great relationship with journalists who criticize it; there were at least 17 journalists in Turkish prisons by the end of last year.

And, apparently, it now has a problem with the New York Times, which Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused on Tuesday of wishing that last Friday’s coup attempt in Turkey had succeeded.

Cavusoglu was responding to a quote used in a Times world section tweet promoting a recent article about the political turmoil, which called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters “sheep” who “will follow whatever he says.”

The Times clarified in a follow-up tweet that the quote used to promote the article no longer appears in the story because the article had been updated to add new information about political backlash and arrests launched by Erdogan’s government in response to the coup.

But Cavusoglu seems to have misunderstood the quote attribution anyway. Those words were not written authoritatively by a Times reporter nor were they published as the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. According to an earlier version of the news article that had been aggregated elsewhere before it was updated, the quote can be attributed to a Turkish lawyer in Istanbul who was quoted by the Times about her feelings on the coup attempt.

And here’s the Times explaining its tweet:

Photo credit: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images

Siobhán O’Grady is a freelance journalist working across sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked as a staff writer at Foreign Policy. @siobhan_ogrady

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