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US risks ‘losing friend’, warns Erdogan before meeting Biden

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the United States on Tuesday June that they risked “To lose a precious friend” by “cornering” Turkey, two weeks away from a meeting with its American counterpart Joe Biden amid bilateral tensions. “Those who corner the Republic of Turkey will lose a precious friend”, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Turkish state television station TRT, in response to a question about relations between Ankara and Washington.

This warning comes before the first meeting between Erdogan and Biden, scheduled for June 14 on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels aimed at appeasing relations between Turkey and the United States. Strongly tense since 2016, relations between these two NATO member countries have deteriorated further since the election to the White House of Joe Biden, who succeeded Donald Trump with whom Recep Tayyip Erdogan had forged personal links.

Ankara in particular reacted strongly after the recognition by Washington in April of the genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Turkey, heir to the Ottoman Empire, rejects the term genocide, evoking a civil war in Anatolia, coupled with a famine, in which 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and as many Turks have died. “What is the reason for our tensions (with the United States) ? The so-called Armenian genocide ”Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday. “So you have no other problem to deal with rather than playing Armenia’s advocate?”, he said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan also listed several subjects that have plagued relations between Ankara and Washington since 2016, starting with American support for Kurdish militias in Syria that Turkey describes as “Terrorists”. “If the United States is indeed our allies, should it side with the terrorists or with us? Unfortunately, they continue to support the terrorists ”, declared the Turkish president on Tuesday.

During his interview with Joe Biden, Recep Tayyip Erdogan should however endeavor to calm tensions. Last week, he had estimated that their meeting would open a “new era” in relations between Ankara and Washington. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has led Turkey since 2003, also stressed on Tuesday that he had always managed to work with the host of the White House, “Whether Republican or Democrat”.

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