Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, raised the ante Sunday in attacking US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden over past comments the latter had made about his boss.
Speaking to New York Times editors in January, Biden advocated a new U.S. approach to the “autocrat” Erdogan and support for opposition parties.
Biden’s comments resurfaced in a video that made him the most popular topic on Twitter in Turkey, where Erdogan has governed for 17 years and has good relations with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Biden, the former U.S. vice president, says in the video 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, a NATO ally.
“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 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.”
After an initial, relatively mild response by Erdogan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said the comments “reflect games and an interventionist approach towards Turkey” and are inconsistent with current diplomatic relations, Kalin weighed in today with his own tweet.
Kalin told Biden that “the days of ordering Turkey around are over” and dared him to try, and “pay the price.”