Gov’t, opposition lashes out at US presidential candidate Biden’s past remarks on Turkey
Turkey’s political parties, including the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), have slammed United States presidential candidate Joe Biden’s interventionist remarks over Turkish politics.
Biden, in an interview with the New York Times editors in December 2019, described President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as an “autocrat” and argued to support the opposition leaders to defeat the Turkish president through the elections.
The first reaction came from Fahrettin Altun, the head of Turkey’s Communications Directorate, who said, “U.S. Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s remarks [made in December but reported by the media today] reflect the games being played over Turkey and their interventionist attitudes,” on Twitter in English.
“These remarks are not in line with democracy and the nature of Turkish-American relations,” he added. The current U.S. administration would find these “undiplomatic remarks unseemly of a presidential candidate” in a NATO ally, said Altun, adding that Turkey is not to be made into other countries’ domestic political fodder.
He underlined that U.S. political institutions and the public should “disregard these irresponsible statements,” clearly intended to score domestic political points. Turkey will not allow its democratic politics to be disturbed by such “irresponsible” statements, said Altun.
“Our country will continue our national struggle under the leadership of our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” he added.
Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın also slammed Biden, saying his 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,” Kalın said in a tweet.
The deputy leaders of the AKP, Ömer Çelik and Mahir Ünal, echoed Altun and Kalın’s reaction against Biden.
Opposition slams Biden, too
Senior members of the Turkish opposition have also slammed Biden over his remarks about Turkey’s domestic politics.
Faik Öztrak, the spokesman of the CHP, criticized Biden’s remarks, saying, “Our democracy and endeavor for freedom do not need any imperialist favors. Independence is our character.”
He assured that the opposition would do politics for the sake of the Turkish nation, not for foreign political actors.
Temel Karamollaoğlu, head of the opposition Felicity (Saadet) Party, slammed Biden’s remarks in a written statement and said his party would not let any foreign actors design the domestic politics of Turkey.
“We have knowledge and experience to deal with problems on our own no matter how big they are,” he said.
“Worldwide peace will never be achieved unless the U.S. stops meddling in national politics of others,” he stated, adding that the current frontrunner in the U.S. presidential race should focus on problems of his own country.
Muharrem İnce, the CHP’s former presidential candidate in the June 2018 elections, was also among those who slammed Biden’s remarks.
“As [Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk said, INDEPENDENCE is our character! Changing the Turkish government is the responsibility of the Turkish nation, not yours! @JoeBiden,” he tweeted.
Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party leader Ali Babacan said Turkish democracy is powered by its nation and political parties and does not need any external support to gain electoral success.
Ahmet Davutoğlu, leader of the Future Party, who previously served as the country’s prime minister, also took to Twitter to voice criticism and said the Turkish nation is the only actor to decide who would govern the country and his party does not recognize any other power than the will of the Turkish nation.