The extent to which Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey has lost any sense of measure and does not realize its limits was confirmed once more by the reaction of Turkish officials toward the US presidential candidate Joe Biden, with the loudest one coming from the Turkish president’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin.
Erdogan’s close associate attacked the former US vice president directly, and in seemingly inappropriate language. He proclaimed that “the analysis of Turkey by Joe Biden is based on pure ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy.” And in a more stern tone he concluded: “The days of ordering Turkey around are over. But if you still think you can try, be our guest. You will pay the price.”
The angry reaction – which bordered on a rant – by one of the most serious and capable members of the country’s leadership, came after the reappearance of an old video in which the Democratic candidate for the White House described Erdogan as “authoritarian” and denounced his policy toward the Kurds, while supporting its opponents.
“What I think we should be doing is taking a very different approach to [Erdogan] now, making it clear that we support opposition leadership,” Biden said in the video, 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.”
It is partly understandable for Turkish officials to be annoyed by the statements and denounce the interference in domestic affairs. But the tone and the threats against the US, in which they “warn” that it will pay a heavy price, can only be interpreted as another sign of the megalomania that prevails in Ankara.
Finally, a note of caution. Before some people in Greece and Cyprus rush to celebrate Biden’s support for the Turkish opposition, it is good to keep in mind that Erdogan’s main political opponents, the Kemalists of CHP, are equally aggressive and provocative toward Greece.
In fact, they often use threats and a nationalist rhetoric, such as when they accuse the Turkish president of “granting” Turkish islands to Greeks and urge him to recapture them!