“Not Fitting of a President”: Erdogan Chastises Biden for Putin Comment
Then lauded Putin for giving a “smart” and “classy response”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that US President Joe Biden’s comments about Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin, in which he called him a “killer”, were “unacceptable” and “not fitting of a president”.
In a TV interview broadcast on Wednesday, Biden said “I do” when asked if he believed the Russian president was a killer, plunging diplomatic ties to a new low. Putin later responded “it takes one to know one”. [No he didn’t.]
“Mr Biden’s comment about Putin does not suit a head of state,” the Turkish president told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul, lauding Putin for giving a “smart” and “classy response”.
Ankara and Washington are NATO allies, although Erdogan and Biden have yet to speak since the latter took office in January.
Putin on Thursday mocked the US leader, using a Russian phrase that translates roughly as “it takes one to know one”, and wishing Biden, 78, good health.
“I’m saying this without irony, not as a joke,” Putin, 68, said.
Biden is also remembered in Ankara for calling Erdogan an “autocrat” in an interview in late 2019.
Despite their differences over the Syria war, in which they have backed opposite sides, Erdogan has called Putin a “friend and a strategic partner”.
Erdogan’s comments reflect a new spell of tensions that have entered Turkey’s relations with Washington since Biden replaced Donald Trump in the White House in January.
Turkish-US relations are also hampered by Ankara’s purchase of advanced S-400 air defence missile system from Moscow, which Washington says threaten NATO defences.
Turkey has said it wants improved ties under Biden, but has called on Washington to end its support for the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, and accused it of siding with fighters who it says executed 13 Turks in northern Iraq this month.
Ankara has been infuriated by US support for the Kurdish fighters in Syria, whom it considers “terrorists”.
Source: Al Jazeera