KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he considers Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “friend”, but did not directly say whether he considers him a role model leader.

Anwar, who is the prime minister-in-waiting, also did not directly address the question of whether he will govern Malaysia in a similar way as Erdogan once he assumes the PM post.

The PKR president-elect was interviewed by Al Jazeera English’s UpFront programme host Mehdi Hassan, who highlighted that Anwar had previously described Erdogan as a popular leader among Muslims due to the latter’s views on Palestine and the Middle East and courage to fight for justice.

“He’s a friend, I support some of his policies.

“And I think given the atrocious conditions in the Muslim world run by dictators, I think it’s a breath of fresh air to see the success in Indonesia and in Turkey, and in some way, hopefully Imran Khan in Pakistan.

“So I’m looking at that way, in a positive manner. I’m not in a position to defend all their policies,” Anwar told Mehdi, before raising an attempted violent coup that Erdogan experienced.

Mehdi acknowledged that the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan had been widely criticised, but also asked if Anwar was condemning any of Erdogan’s actions in a massive crackdown against hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizens after the failed coup.

Mehdi trailed off a list of alleged human rights and power abuses in Erdogan’s crackdown, including the sacking of judges and teachers; detention of soldiers and government officials; and shutting down of media outlets, but Anwar said such a question ignores the United States’ alleged “hypocrisy” on the coup attempt.

“Your question is whether he overreacted after the coup. I would say yes, but over time, it should ease and that’s my personal views expressed to him.

“But then, to ignore the fact that there were hundreds of people killed, this is to me unacceptable,” Anwar said, referring to the coup.

On June 25, Anwar congratulated Erdogan on his successful re-election as Turkey’s president for the second term, saying that he was convinced that the latter’s “commitment to democracy, the continued betterment of the Turkish people, the promotion of peace and the eradication of subversive elements” contributed to the victory.

Anwar also said that he was convinced Erdogan’s win was a “victory for the Islamic world in portraying a modern and progressive face of Islam” that embraces change without compromising on Islamic values.

Anwar then expressed his appreciation for Erdogan’s continued support and friendship over the years, especially during his imprisonment.

In late June, Anwar was quoted as telling The Weekend Australia that he was confident that Turkey “would evolve into a more mature democracy” and said Erdogan “persists on a democratic agenda” despite some valid criticisms against the latter’s rule. He also said he will encourage Erdogan to “respect the rule of law”.

In early July, Erdogan and his wife visited Anwar in a hospital in Turkey while the latter was undergoing treatment and surgeries.

In the latest decree issued on July 8 as part of ongoing crackdowns in Turkey, 18,000 public servants will lose their jobs and passports — with these individuals including around 9,000 policemen, about 5,000 from armed forces, and hundreds of academics; while 12 NGOs, three newspapers and one television station will be closed down.