Turkish President Erdogan Defends Putin, Says Biden Comments ‘Not Fitting Of A President’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called President Joe Biden’s recent comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin “unacceptable” amid a diplomatic spat this week between the U.S. and Russian leaders.
“Mr. Biden’s statements about Mr. Putin are not fitting of a president, and a president coming out and using such remarks against the president of a country like Russia is truly unacceptable, not something that can be stomached,” Erdoğan told reporters Friday in Istanbul, according to Reuters.
“In my opinion, Mr. Putin has done what is necessary by giving a very, very smart and elegant answer,” he added.
— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) March 19, 2021
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia flared up this week after Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview Wednesday that Putin is a “killer” and would “pay a price” for interfering in American elections. Biden also confirmed prior reports he personally told Putin in 2011 that the Russian president does not “have a soul.”
Biden’s comments came after an unclassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the day before detailed both Russian and Iranian attempts to influence the 2020 election.
Responding to Biden’s “killer” remark, Putin said Thursday that “it takes one to know one” and wished his American counterpart “good health.” The Russian president later fired another shot at Biden by challenging him to a debate on live television. (RELATED: Russia Recalls Ambassador After President Biden Calls Putin A ‘Killer’ With No Soul)
Erdoğan’s involvement in the Biden-Putin spat highlights growing strategic relations between Turkey and Russia, despite the two countries backing opposing sides in Middle East conflicts and an initial diplomatic breakdown in 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft.
Relations between the U.S. and Turkey, both members of NATO, have faced hurdles in recent years. The U.S. has previously scrutinized Turkey for its human rights record, purchase of Russian weapons and diverging priorities in the Syrian civil war.