Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Joe Biden’s comments about Russia’s Vladimir Putin, in which he said he thought he was a murderer, were “unacceptable” and not putting a president of the United States.
In a TV interview broadcast on Wednesday, Biden said “I do” when asked if he believed Putin was a murderer, which pushed U.S.-Russia relations to sink to a new low. Putin next responded that “he who said it, did it.”
“Sir. Biden’s statements about Mr. Putin do not apply to a president, and a president who comes out and uses such statements against the president of a country like Russia is truly unacceptable, not something that can be exchanged,
“I think Mr. Putin has done what is necessary by giving a very, very intelligent and elegant answer,” he added.
Relations between Ankara and Washington, NATO allies, have been left with many issues in recent years including Turkey’s record on human rights and freedoms, its takeover of Russia’s defense systems and policy differences in Syria.
The United States, which along with other western allies has accused Ankara of straying from NATO and the western bloc, last year imposed sanctions on Turkey over its defenses against Russia. Turkey called that a “serious mistake”.
Erdogan, who had close ties with former President Donald Trump, has not spoken to Biden since he took office in January.
Turkey and Russia have developed strong strategic relations in recent years despite backing opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Libya. Erdogan often met and held calls with Putin, whom he called a friend.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Frances Kerry)
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