Erdogan warns US: They risk ‘losing a friend’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned the United States that it is in danger of “losing a valuable friend” as they “put their backs to the wall”. Tayyip Erdogan, two weeks before his meeting with his American counterpart Joe Biden, against the background of the ongoing tensions.

“Those who push the Republic of Turkey against the wall are losing a valuable friend,” Erdogan said in an interview with state-run TRT television, when asked about Ankara’s relations with Washington.

The warning was recorded a few days before the first meeting between Erdogan and Biden on June 14 on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels, aimed at de-escalating tensions in the bilateral relationship, as noted by AMPE.

Already tense since 2016, the relationship between the two NATO member states has deteriorated even more since the arrival of the White House Biden, who succeeded Donald Trump – with whom Erdogan had sought to cultivate a personal relationship.

Ankara reacts strongly to Washington’s recognition of Armenian genocide in April by the troops of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

Turkey, the heir to the Ottoman Empire, rejects the term genocide, referring to the civil war in Anatolia which, combined with famine, had killed 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and about the same number of Turks.

“What is the reason for the tensions? The so-called Armenian genocide. “Did you have any other problems to solve before you decided to represent the Armenian ombudsman?” Mr Erdogan said yesterday.

The Turkish president referred to several other issues that have been poisoning Ankara-Washington relations since 2016, in particular US support for Kurdish armed groups in Syria, which Turkey describes as “terrorist”.

“If the USA are they really our allies, on whose side should they side, that of the terrorists or ours? “Unfortunately, they continue to support the terrorists,” Erdogan said yesterday.

However, during his meeting with Mr. Biden, the Turkish president is expected to try to lower the tone. Last week, he estimated that the meeting could allow the beginning of a “new era” in the bilateral relationship.

Mr Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, says he is always willing to work with the White House resident “whether he is a Republican or a Democrat”.