Erdogan calls on Turkish voters to 'teach US a lesson'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan encouraged his supporters to "teach the US a lesson" in forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections at a rally in Bagcilar district in Istanbul on Sunday.
The longtime Turkish leader criticised US Ambassador to Ankara Jeff Flake for meeting with his chief election rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP) instead of him.
Kilicdaroglu is set to challenge Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) in elections on May 14 and currently has a slight lead in the polls over Erdogan.
#Turkish President #Erdogan has said that from now on his “doors are closed” to the US Ambassador to Ankara, @JeffFlake, blasting the diplomat’s recent meeting with his rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at the upcoming #presidential elections.#US #Turkey pic.twitter.com/2MdJK6X8lc— HAKAN AKBAŞ (@hakana) April 3, 2023
"We need to teach America a lesson in these elections. Joe Biden speaks from there, what is Biden's ambassador doing here? He goes to visit Mr Kemal," Erdogan said, “It's a shame, use your head a little bit. You are the ambassador. Your addressee here is the president.”
“Our doors are closed to him, you will not see him again," Erdogan continued. "Why? You will know your place. You will know your duty as an ambassador. You will learn how an ambassador works.”
The 69-year-old president made his address to a local branch of the ‘Grey Wolves’, an ultra-nationalist group affiliated with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which is currently allied to Erdogan.
Erdogan is telegraphing to the US (paging Sweden’s NATO accession, among other topics) to stay out in case results of the -competitive-May polls in Turkey are contested by his supporters and campaign https://t.co/ywR95FeXrD— Soner Cagaptay (@SonerCagaptay) April 3, 2023
Flake has been the target of Turkish government anger on previous occassions. Last month, the Turkish Interior minister slammed Flake in a statement accusing him of wanting to “create strife" in Turkey, telling him: "Take your dirty hands of Turkey."
There have been ongoing disputes between the US and Turkey over the sale of F-35 American jets in response to Ankara's acquisition of Russian weaponry.