There is no love lost between U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In a New York Times report, Biden described the Turkish president as an “autocrat”, criticized his policy towards the Kurds, and advocated supporting the Turkish opposition.
“What I think we should be doing is taking a very different approach to him now, making it clear that we support opposition leadership,” Biden said.
“He has to pay a price,” Biden said in a recorded interview, adding that Washington should embolden Turkish opposition leaders “to be able to take on and defeat Erdogan. Not by a coup, not by a coup, but by the electoral process.”
The interview has elicited a provoked response from Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin who tweeted, “The days of ordering Turkey around are over. But if you still think you can try, be our guest. You will pay the price.”
Meanwhile, Erdogan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said the comments “reflect games and an interventionist approach towards Turkey” and are inconsistent with current diplomatic relations.
“Nobody can attack our nation’s will and democracy or question the legitimacy of our President, who was elected by popular vote,” Altun said on Twitter.
“We believe that these unbecoming statements which have no place in diplomacy by a presidential candidate from our NATO ally, the United States, are unacceptable to the current administration too,” he added.
At the same time, several officials of the main opposition CHP party quickly distanced themselves from Biden’s remarks, calling for “respect for the sovereignty of Turkey.”
Nigel Bell, Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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