The United States (US) President Donald Trump called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a world-class chess player while criticising former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and called him "shot". He further said that Biden would not be able to stand up to the "world-class chess players", referring to Erdogan.
"Let's face it, Joe's shot," Trump said during an interview on "Fox & Friends." "You're dealing with people with sharp mind and astute attitude. You're dealing with world-class chess players in the leaders of these countries. I know them all. We do very well with all of them, Erdoğan of Turkey. You can't have a guy that doesn't know where he is. You can't have a guy that's afraid to leave his basement because he can't speak any longer," Trump said.
Biden has made a controversial remark on Turkey In a video clip that went viral, where he said he would seek a regime change in Turkey and expressed his willingness to work with "opposition leadership" in the country to topple Erdoğan in Turkey's 2023 elections.
However, Trump replied to this and 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 Erdoğan. Not by a coup, not by a coup, but by the electoral process."
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has slammed Biden's remarks and said that only the Turkish nation, not someone from the U.S. or another country, can decide to change its government and president. "We strongly reject such impositions," Çavuşoğlu told Anadolu Agency (AA) following his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Dominican Republic, adding that Biden's remarks are "ignorant" and fail to recognize the Turkish nation. He also said it was strange that a person who has been nominated to lead the U.S. made such ignorant comments on Turkey, and that he doesn't know the truth about his own country.
Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said: "The analysis of Turkey by Joe Biden was based on pure ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy."
Trump also said world leaders have sought his help with Erdoğan because he claimed the Turkish leader will only listen to him. "The heads of countries last week called me up, 'could you call Erdoğan?' " he noted, quoting world leaders whom he did not name.
Trump said he asked the undisclosed leaders why he should be the one to speak to the Turkish president, to which Trump said they responded, "You're the only one he'll listen to. He doesn't listen to us. You're the only one. I said, 'Is that because of the United States?' He says 'no, that's because of you. That's because of your personality. You're the only one that he'll listen to,' " Trump said. "I don't like saying this publicly, but it happens to be true. I get along with him and he listens."
It is unclear which leader or leaders Trump was referring to during the telephone interview, but the call came amid heightened tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean involving several U.S. allies, including Turkey, Greece, France, and Egypt.
Tensions have been mounting in the region after Athens' controversial new maritime pact with Egypt. Greek defence sources announced joint military drills Thursday in the Eastern Mediterranean along with France, which has sought to hem in Turkey's maritime territory.