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Turkey’s Erdogan says his doors are closed for US ambassador amid growing rift


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaking at a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, on November 30, 2020. (Photo handout via Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his doors are closed for US ambassador to Ankara Jeff Flake following the diplomat’s meeting with Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the presidential candidate for the opposition alliance.

“What is (US President Joe) Biden’s envoy doing? He goes and meets with Mr. Kemal. Shame on you, use your brain,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by Turkey’s Star newspaper on Sunday amid growing tension between Washington and Ankara.

“You are an ambassador. Your interlocutor here is the president. How will you ask for a meeting with the president after this,” Erdogan asserted, adding that his doors were now closed for the American envoy to “let him know his limits”.

Presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey are scheduled for May 14. Kilicdaroglu, nominated as the presidential candidate for the country’s six opposition parties, is seen as the incumbent president’s main challenger.

Leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, speaks during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey on October 11, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Muharrem İnce and Sinan Ogan are two other contenders in the presidential race. However, the main competition is expected to be a head-to-head race between Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu.

The previous presidential election in Turkey was held in June 2018.

In early March, Ankara summoned Flake over top US general Mark Milley’s visit to northeast Syria, as reported by the country’s state-run news agency.

In February, Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu slammed the US envoy after Washington warned Ankara about the export of chemicals, microchips and other products to Russia.

“Take your dirty hands off of Turkey. I’m being very clear. I very well know how you would like to create strife in Turkey. Take your grinning face off from Turkey,” Soylu was quoted as saying at the time.

“Every US ambassador who arrives in Turkey is hurrying to find out how to make a coup possible in Turkey”.

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