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Turkey threatens Biden, tells US it will “pay price” for criticism

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Turkey threatens Biden, tells US it will “pay price” for criticism

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Turkey’s leading presidential advisor and diplomat have slammed US Presidential candidate Joe Biden and threatened the US that it will “pay the price” for criticism of Turkey. In a social media video that upset pro-government Turkish voices Biden was seen speaking months ago in which he critiqued Ankara’s ruling regime.

Turkish Presidential Advisor Ibrahim Kalin slammed Biden on August 16, accusing him of ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy. “The days of ordering Turkey around are over,” Kalin tweeted. “But if you still think you can, be our guest. You will pay the price.” Turkey’s top diplomat, after meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also slammed Biden, calling him “ignorant.” Speaking about Biden’s comments, Cavusoglu said “it’s weird that someone this disinformed wants to run the country.” The unusual comments for a top diplomat appear designed to support the Trump administration against Biden, part of a wider view at the top levels in Ankara.
The threats to make the US “pay the price” and attacking Biden join a long list of Turkish attacks on western democracies. Turkey’s leading diplomat has called European countries “spoiled children” and other officials have called various European countries “Nazis” in recent years. Turkey threatened to “crush” and “kick out to sea” any European country that insulted the Turkish flag. Turkey’s Foreign Minister also told European countries to “know their place.” By contrast Turkey has become closely allied with Russia and Iran and never uses such language against China.

Turkey is the world’s leading jailer of journalists and Turkey’s ruling AK Party has become increasingly aggressive, jailing opposition party members for criticism on social media and shutting down almost all press in Turkey that is not pro-government. Ankara’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his advisors have sought to gain favor with the Trump administration since 2016. They not only sought out advisors to Trump during 2016 but have also sought to silence protests on US soil. In 2017 when Erdogan visited Washington Turkish security attacked US protesters and police. The US State Department complained but cases were quietly dropped by the US administration.

Turkey then jailed a US pastor, harassed at least one US soldier and jailed a US embassy employee over the last several years, in a pattern of pressure designed to threaten the Trump administration. The White House responded since 2017 with providing Erdogan with an open invitation to direct phone calls with Trump and it appears he became the foreign leader that the US President has officially spoken with the most since coming to office. However Turkey was at the same time pursuing a policy of aggression against other NATO allies and the US. Ankara acquired S-400s from Russia and has hosted Hamas leaders and provided key Hamas members citizenship. According to an article in the Telegraph in December 2019 Hamas has also planned terror attacks on Israel from Turkey.

In recent comments Ankara appears to have taken sides in the US election. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday. Pompeo flew to the Dominican Republic to meet the Turkish diplomat, an unusual event whereby the US went to meet Turkey’s officials as opposed to them going to meet the US, showing the relative power relationship in which it appears Turkey orders the US when and where to meet. For instance Turkey ordered the US to leave eastern Syria in 2019 and abandon US partners and the US complied after Turkish threats to invade if the US didn’t get out of the way. Turkey also has tried to order the US to intervene in Libya and to agree to its Mediterranean energy deal which is designed to scupper an Israeli deal with Greece.

On Monday Turkey’s Anadolu noted that Turkey’s leading diplomat, after meeting Pompeo, slammed the US for brokering a deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. He claimed that “Jerusalem is our common cause” and the Palestinian cause was a “sacred cause” for Turkey. Ankara and Tehran have been the main countries opposing the Israel-UAE peace agreement that the Trump administration helped broker.
Turkey has vowed to “liberate Al-Aqsa” and Jerusalem from Israel’s control in comments last month when Ankara transformed Hagia Sophia museum back into a mosque in Istanbul. Turkey’s top diplomat said that supporting Palestinians is a “Muslim cause,” and the increasingly religious terms Ankara uses to describe the struggle against Israel are now similar to Iran’s threats against Israel. Turkey has encouraged other Muslim Brotherhood-aligned groups to oppose the UAE deal. Turkey’s ruling part has origins in the Muslim Brotherhood. The UAE is a key state opposing the Brotherhood, so Turkey views this increasingly as a religious conflict across the Middle East pitting Ankara and Iran against Egypt, Israel, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other states.

The overall posture of Ankara now appears deeply opposed to Biden but it is not entirely clear if the White House still sides as closely with Ankara as it once did. Key officials in the US State Department, such as former ambassador James Jeffrey, as seen as pro-Ankara. However in February when Jeffrey went to Turkey and spoke Turkish and mourned recent Turkish casualties as “martyrs,” Ankara then slammed Jeffrey as not being convincing.

From attacking US protesters, detaining a US pastor, jailing a US consulate employee for eight years, detaining a US soldier, bashing the Trump administration for helping make peace with the UAE to mocking US envoys, and threatening to make the US pay a “price” for criticism, hosting Hamas and working more closely with Russia and Iran, Ankara appears to have adopted an increasingly hostile agenda when it comes to US relations. Turkey has also threatened to flood Europe with refugees and also sought to prevent NATO agreements in the Baltic states. Ankara was also one of the few powers to embrace Venezuela’s regime despite US sanctions and also to praise Belarus President’s Alexander Lukashenko’s recent controversial election.

Source: JP

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