US presidential candidate and presumptive nominee for the Democrats, Joe Biden, is in hot water over old comments he made about Turkey’s Erdogan, after a video surfaced just days before the launch of the Democratic National Convention.
Biden made headlines after comments he made about Turkey in a video dating back to December 2019, when he met with a group of New York Times editors before the popular paper could decide on an endorsement in the US elections.
The former US vice president, who is expected to become officially a presidential candidate on Thursday, was heard and seen in the video criticizing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and calling for support for the Turkish leader's opponents.
Turkish presidency spokesman Ibrahim Kalin took to Twitter saying Biden’s understanding of Turkey in the video was based on 'pure ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy'
Biden called Erdogan an “autocrat” and said “he has to pay a price," adding that Washington should embolden Turkish opposition leaders "to be able to take on and defeat Erdogan. Not by a coup, not by a coup, but by the electoral process."
The comments did not draw much criticism when they were published back in January, but reports said the video went viral over the weekend in Turkey, triggering an angry response from Turkey.
Turkish presidency spokesman Ibrahim Kalin took to Twitter saying Biden’s understanding of Turkey in the video was based on “pure ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy.”
"The days of ordering Turkey around are over. But if you still think you can try, be our guest. You will pay the price," Kalin wrote.
Biden apologies to Erdogan in 2014
But this was not the first time Biden made controversial remarks about Turkey or its government.
Back in October 2014, then US Vice President Joe Biden told a student forum at Harvard University that Erdogan himself had admitted to him that Turkey had erred in closing its porous border to foreign terrorist fighters.
The comments were widely reported as accusing Turkey for strengthening the Islamic State, with Erdogan vehemently denying ever saying that and subsequently demanding an apology.
Biden later apologized during a telephone conversation with Erdogan, with the US politician reassuring the Turkish president of their two countries' commitment to fight ISIS.
"The Vice President apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria," a Biden spokesperson had said.
Biden visited Cyprus earlier in 2014
Biden’s comments in 2014 were made just a few months after he visited the Republic of Cyprus.
The former VP touched down on the island in May 2014, declaring that “I wanted to come to primarily underscore the value the United States attaches to our growing cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus."
"This relationship is now a genuine strategic partnership which holds great promise,” the presidential candidate had said.
Biden has selected Kamala Harris to be his running mate, a charismatic blue-state senator and a former prosecutor, who has built a reputation as an unyielding antagonist of the Trump administration.
Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, was once a formidable opponent of Biden in the democratic primaries.