Turkish officials are upset at Joe Biden after a monthsold video of him criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan resurfaced over the weekend.
During a New York Times interview in December, Biden called Erdogan an “autocrat” and advocated for the United States to embolden Turkish opposition “to be able to take on and defeat Erdogan. Not by a coup, not by a coup, but by the electoral process.”
Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan’s communications director, said Saturday that the remarks “reflect games and an interventionist approach towards Turkey,” according to Al Jazeera.
“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.”
Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, also bashed the remarks and said that Biden’s analysis of Turkey is based on “pure ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy.”
“The days of ordering Turkey around are over. But if you still think you can try, be our guest. You will pay the price,” he added.
Relations between the U.S. and Turkey have been tense at times during the past few years over Turkish opposition to Kurdish forces, which have been supported by the U.S. Further complicating matters was the NATO ally’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Dominican Republic on Saturday and also addressed Biden’s statements.
“It’s very interesting for a presidential candidate who has also served as a vice president to make such mistakes,” Cavusoglu said, according to Bloomberg News.
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