Biden Accuses Turkey of Undermining Fight Against ISIS

US President Joe Biden in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, accused Turkey for undermining the fight against the Islamic State with its military offensive in northeast Syria, Al Arabiya reported on Friday.

“The situation in and in relation to Syria, and in particular the actions by the government of Turkey to conduct a military offensive into northeast Syria, undermines the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, endangers civilians, and further threatens to undermine the peace, security, and stability in the region, and continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” Biden said in the letter.

In 2014, while vice president, Biden apologized to Erdogan after suggesting in a speech that Turkey helped facilitate the rise of the Islamic State militant group by allowing foreign fighters to cross Turkey’s border with Syria. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden drew ire from Turkish officials after an interview with The New York Times in which he called Erdogan an “autocrat.”

Erdogan enjoyed collegial relations with Trump, who didn’t give him a hard time about Turkey’s human rights record and agreed to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria in 2019, paving the way for a Turkish military offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters who had fought alongside U.S. forces against IS militants. Biden was strongly critical of that decision, accusing Trump of selling out U.S. allies.

Erdogan waited several days before congratulating Biden on his election victory as Trump challenged the results. At the same time, Erdogan sent a message to Trump thanking him for his “warm friendship.”

After taking office, Biden waited three months before giving Erdogan a call, which was widely seen in Turkey as a snub. The first time they spoke after the election was when Biden called to tell Erdogan his intentions to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide on April 24.