Turkey, Politics

Erdogan urges Biden to boost relations with Turkey

Turkey does not have any prejudice, hostility or animosity toward any country, Turkish president says

Emin Avundukluoglu   | 23.12.2020
Erdogan urges Biden to boost relations with Turkey


Turkey's president on Wednesday urged US President-elect Joe Biden to pay due attention to Turkish-American relations.

"We believe that the new president of US, Mr. Biden, will also pay due attention to Turkish-American relations. We have no prejudice, hostility or animosity toward anyone," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Justice and Development (AK) Party's parliamentary group in the capital Ankara.

"To this day, we have gone running to those who took even a single step toward us. We maintain the same sincerity and optimism," he said.

The president added that Turkey would continue to work for peace, justice and prosperity in the region.

Erdogan also said that Turkey hoped to open a new chapter in its relations with the EU and the US in the new year.

"We do not view our versatile political, economic and military ties as an alternative to our well-established relations with the US. We also hope that EU gets rid of the strategic blindness that moves Turkey away [from the bloc]."

On Dec. 14, the US imposed sanctions on Turkey over its acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

US officials have voiced opposition to the deal, claiming the S-400s would be incompatible with NATO systems and would expose F-35 jets to possible Russian subterfuge.

Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400s would not be integrated into NATO systems, and pose no threat to the alliance or its armaments.

Turkish officials have repeatedly proposed a working group to examine the technical compatibility issue.

European court ruling on HDP politician

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the arrest of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), violated his freedom of expression and right to participate in elections.

Demirtas was under pre-trial detention for terror charges during the 2017 constitutional referendum and June 2018 presidential elections in Turkey. The European court also said his freedom of political debate was limited in that time.

The Turkish president criticized the ECHR ruling in the case of Demirtas, who is currently under arrest.

He said that the ECHR cannot announce a ruling by replacing Turkish courts.

"With taking this decision without internal authorities being exhausted, the European Court of Human Rights performed an exceptional practice," Erdogan said.

"However, even if we leave the exception aside, the ruling about Selahattin Demirtas clearly contradicts with the justifications of the decision of the same court on the Batasuna party in Spain," he added.

The court also urged Turkey to take all necessary measures for the release of Demirtas.

"It is clearly double-standard, and even hypocrisy that the [European] court demands the release of a chief person responsible for an attack brutally killing 39 people between Oct. 6-8, 2014," he said.

The ECHR also ruled that Turkey should pay "€3,500 [$4,266] in respect of pecuniary damage, €25,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and €31,900 in respect of costs and expenses."

In November 2016, Demirtas along with 12 HDP lawmakers was arrested on terror-related charges.

In September 2018, he was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison after he was convicted of "spreading terrorist propaganda," "terrorist organization leadership" and "public incitement to hatred and hostility".

A year later, the European court ordered Demirtas' release claiming his detention had been extended on insufficient grounds. Afterward, both Turkey and Demirtas applied to the Court's Grand Chamber and a hearing was held on March 18, 2019.

Turkey's government accuses the HDP of having links to the PKK terror group, which has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants in its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey. The US, the EU and Turkey have listed the PKK as a terrorist organization.

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