In very apparent support of an allied and friendly nation, US Presidential Candidate Joe Biden said that he would seek regime change in Turkey.
He declared that he would work with “opposition leadership” in the country to topple Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey’s 2023 elections.
“Do you feel comfortable with the United States still having nuclear weapons in Turkey given Erdogan’s behavior?” Kathleen Kingsbury, New York Times’ deputy editorial page editor, asked Biden.
“The answer is my comfort level is diminished a great deal. I’ve spent a lot of time with Erdogan,” Biden responded, describing Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s democratically elected president, as an “autocrat.”
Biden added that if he is elected this November, his administration will pursue a policy of intervention against Turkey’s elected government.
“What I think we should be doing is taking a very different approach to him [Erdogan] now, making it clear that we support opposition leadership,” said Biden.
He added, suggesting an ultimatum:
“He [Erdogan] has to pay a price. He has to pay a price for whether or not we’re going to continue to sell certain weapons to him.”
Professing “concern,” Biden said:
“I’m still of the view that if we were to engage more directly like I was doing with them, that we can support those elements of the Turkish leadership that still exist and get more from them and embolden them to be able to take on and defeat Erdogan. Not by a coup, not by a coup, but by the electoral process.”
US President Donald Trump “yielded” to Turkey, said Biden, adding:
“And the last thing I would’ve done is yielded to him with regard to the Kurds. The absolute last thing.” Biden’s remarks illicitly conflated “Kurds” with the terrorist YPG/PKK in northern Syria, a group which attacks Turkish security forces, kidnaps children – including many Kurds – and has tried to set up a terrorist statelet along Turkey’s borders.
He continued: “They got to understand that we’re not going to continue to play with them the way we have. So I am very concerned. I am very concerned.
“I’m very concerned about our airfields [at Incirlik Airbase in Adana, Turkey] and access to them as well.
“And I think it takes an awful lot of work for us to be able to get together with our allies in the region and deal with how we isolate his actions in the region, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean in relating to oil and a whole range of other things which take too long to go into. But the answer is yes, I’m worried.”
In response, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey rejects the “ignorant” remarks by Biden.
“We strongly reject such impositions,”Cavusoglu said.
He also said it was “strange” that a person who has been nominated to lead the US made such “ignorant comments” on Turkey, and that he doesn’t know the truth about his own country.
Referring to Biden’s “not by a coup” remark, Cavusoglu said he understood this to mean: “We tried a coup in the past, it didn’t happen. So now let’s change tactics and methods.”
Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin also said that any attempts to order Turkey were in the past, and that there would be a price to pay for any new undertakings to do so.
The analysis of Turkey by @JoeBiden 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.
— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) August 16, 2020
“The analysis of Turkey by Joe Biden was based on pure ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy,” Kalin said on Twitter.
Fahrettin Altun, head of Turkey’s Communications Directorate, had also hit back at Biden’s remarks, saying the video clip “reflected the games being played over Turkey and their interventionist attitudes.”
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