Biden speaking against Erdoğan in unaired clip

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Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden, in a clip taken from what appears to be an episode of FX’s The Weekly, spoke of his vision for U.S. relations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Biden said he would embolden Turkish opposition to defeat Erdoğan in elections if he became president.

The Weekly is a documentary series showing how iconic headlines by the New York Times come about. In the January 19 episode titled The Endorsement, the NYT editorial board interviewed all Democratic candidates, making public for the first time the process behind the endorsement the newspaper makes at every U.S. election.

The story first appeared on Arabic media on Thursday, and was picked up by Kurdish media on Saturday. The video clip appeared on Saturday, posted on Twitter by Kurdish journalist Arif Zêrevan.

https://twitter.com/ArifZerevan/status/1294570143801016320

The clip appears to be an outtake from The Weekly, as Biden does not speak of Turkey in the episode that aired on FX and is currently available for streaming on Hulu.

The clip shows Biden saying repeatedly that he is “very concerned” about developments in Turkey and stating the need for “a very different approach” to Erdoğan by “engaging” with the elements of the Turkish opposition leadership like he was doing during his vice presidency.

“We can support those elements in the Turkish leadership that still exist and get more from them, embolden them to be able to take on and defeat Erdoğan,” Biden said, “not by a coup,” but via the electoral process.

Erdoğan “got blown out in Istanbul,” the Democratic nominee said, referring to the defeat of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the local elections last year. The AKP lost most of Turkey’s big cities in the March elections, including Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Antalya, Diyarbakır and Eskişehir.

Biden, during Barack Obama’s second term as president in particular, engaged closely with the Turkish opposition, including meeting with critical journalists and activists during visits to Istanbul.

Current U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration “yielded to” Erdoğan in Syria, Biden said. “The last thing I would have done is to yield to him with regards to the Kurds.”

After AKP’s electoral defeat, the Turkish military started an incursion into Syria dubbed “Operation Peace Spring,” dealing a blow to the Syrian Kurds. Preceded by operations Euphrates Shield in 2016 and Olive Branch to seize Afrin in 2018, the incursion coincided with a nationwide crackdown against the Kurdish political movement. Pro-Kurdish party leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and thousands of members of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP) have been jailed since 2016.

Biden continued his remarks on Turkey by saying, “At the end of the day, Turkey doesn’t want to rely on Russia. They’ve had a bite out of that apple a long time ago. But they’ve got to understand, that we are not going to continue to play with them the way we have.”

Biden ended by saying that the U.S. needs to work harder with allies “to isolate (Erdoğan’s) actions” in the region, particularly in Eastern Mediterreanean including oil exploration and other issues.

Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton wrote about the close friendship between the two presidents in his recent tell-all book, and about U.S. Special Envoy to Syria James Jeffrey, who Bolton calls “a pro-Erdoğan and anti-Kurdish senior figure”, helping to negotiate for Turkey’s operation in Syria, which started after Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Kurdish-held areas.

Source: Ahval

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