Erdoğan controls the press, targets opponents and falsely smears them.
"The payment of the $400 million was not done until after the prisoners were released," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
Rezaian said he was grateful for his new-found freedom but was not yet ready to talk about his imprisonment.
Make no mistake: We negotiated with terrorists, and the terrorists won.
The Washington Post reporter was one of five Americans freed in a prisoner exchange.
Jason Rezaian of "The Washington Post" was said to be among those freed.
The number of jailed journalists in Turkey has doubled in a year.
The Washington Post journalist is being held in Tehran's Evin Prison.
The Post reacted strongly to the conviction Sunday night.
The State Department accused Tehran of kidnapping and amputations on Thursday.
The prosecution of a Washington Post journalist shows the ruling mullahs' contempt for Western values.
Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage for collecting confidential information.
It was reported the U.S. sought the former U.S. Marine's release through a prisoner swap.
In 2014, 220 journalists were imprisoned worldwide, the second worst year on record, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists reports.