Istanbul: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated Joe Biden on Tuesday for defeating Donald Trump in the US presidential election and urged closer ties between the two NATO allies.
Erdogan’s statement came three days after the U.S. media called on Biden to support the election, highlighting the Turkish leader’s close personal bond with Trump.
But Ankara and Washington also experienced tensions during their four years in Trump’s tenure, including US support for Syrian Kurdish militias, which Turkey viewed as a serious security threat.
“I congratulate you on your election success and convey my sincere wishes for the peace and welfare of the US people,” Erdogan said in a statement published by his office, urging “strong cooperation” between the sides.
Other issues standing between Ankara and Washington include Turkey’s purchase of a high-tech Russian missile defence system, and US refusal to extradite a Muslim cleric Erdogan blames for staging a failed 2016 coup.
“The challenges we face today, on the global and regional levels, require us to further develop and strengthen those relations, which are based in mutual interests and shared values,” Erdogan said.
Turkish officials have been alarmed by an interview Biden gave to The New York Times in December in which he called Erdogan an “autocrat”.
Biden criticised the Turkish leader’s policies towards the Kurds and said Washington needed to “embolden” his rivals to allow them “to take on and defeat Erdogan”.
An Erdogan spokesperson said in August that these remarks were “pure ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy.”
The Turkish leader did not address them directly in Tuesday’s statement.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brazilian President Jal Bolsonaro have yet to congratulate Biden.