The Turkish government condemned comments that former Vice President and U.S. Democratic Presidential contender Joe Biden made in December when he advocated a new U.S. approach to the “autocrat” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Biden’s comments to the editors of The New York Times date to December 16, 2019 and advocated for the support of opposition parties that opposed Erdogan’s tough hold on Turkey.
The comments were in a clip from The Weekly, a documentary series published by The New York Times and resurfaced in various Arabic Twitter circles and media.
The clips went viral in Turkey, where Erdoğan has ruled for almost twenty years, while thousands of Twitter users in Turkey attacked Biden.
In the video, Biden says he is “very concerned” about Erdogan’s approach to Kurds in Turkey, his partial military cooperation with Russia, and access to U.S. airfields in the country.
The New York Times confirmed the validity of the comments and the video and made the full transcript available on its website.
Biden said that his comfort level about the U.S. still having nuclear weapons in Turkey given Erdoğan’s behavior “is diminished a great deal.”
“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 in the video and verified by a transcript published in January by The New York Times.
“He has to pay a price,” Biden said at the time, adding 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 Turkish president’s communications director Fahrettin Altun slammed Biden and said the comments “reflect games and an interventionist approach towards Turkey and are inconsistent with current diplomatic relations” between the two countries.
“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.
Is The Pappas Post worth $5 a month for all of the content you read? On any given month, we publish dozens of articles that educate, inform, entertain, inspire and enrich thousands who read The Pappas Post. I’m asking those who frequent the site to chip in and help keep the quality of our content high — and free. Click here and start your monthly or annual support today. If you choose to pay (a) $5/month or more or (b) $50/year or more then you will be able to browse our site completely ad-free!