ANKARA

Turkey’s main opposition leader on Sunday criticized US presidential front-runner Joe Biden for saying he could support opposition to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the 2023 elections.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) strives for Turkey’s independence and sovereignty and does not accept even a shadow of any imperial power, Kemal Kilicdaroglu told reporters.

In a video clip that went viral, presumptive US Democratic nominee Biden said: “We can support those elements of the Turkish leadership that still exist and get more from them and embolden them to be able to take on and defeat Erdogan. Not by a coup, not by a coup, but by the electoral process.”

His remarks – recorded last December but first reported on Saturday – drew condemnation from the entire political spectrum in Turkey, including both government and opposition.

Turkish-US relations have been under strain for a number of reasons such as Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missiles and counter-terrorism operations in northern Syria against the YPG/PKK, a terror group the US has supported as an enemy of Daesh/ISIS.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

Biden is currently ahead in most US polls, but the Nov. 3 presidential elections are still months away.

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