US-led West attacking Russia 'almost without restrictions': Erdogan
Erdogan accuses Biden of hiding opposition cleric Gulen in Pennsylvania.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that the West, with particular emphasis on the US, was "attacking Russia almost without restrictions," yet Moscow was persevering nonetheless.
"Russia is not an ordinary state, it is a powerful state. Of course, the West, led by the US, attacks Russia almost without restrictions. In the face of all this, Russia, of course, is resisting. We are also trying to figure out how we can open a corridor for peace from here... We believe that the best way to do this could be from dialogue to peace," Erdogan told reporters.
Turkey was previously warned by the US that its warming relations with Russia could result in sanctions against Turkish businesses and banks.
Most recent updates between Russia and Turkey reveal that the two countries have been working to develop a gas hub project that would allow European countries to purchase Russian oil via a gas pipeline called TurkStream.
Read more:Turkey begins fulfilling obligations under gas project with Russia
In a related context, Erdogan slammed President Joe Biden for sheltering longtime political rival Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric based in the US who was accused of orchestrating a failed coup against the AKP government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.
"Who protects them [supporters of Gulen]? It is, first of all, Greece. They flee to Greece, they flee to Europe. They have always fled there. They live in Germany, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, the US," Erdogan said.
"And the US is hiding this man [Gulen]. Who is hiding him? It is Biden who hides him. They gave him a huge mansion in Pennsylvania where he lives," Erdogan told reporters.
Despite several requests filed in the past, the US has refused to extradite the Gulen leader back to Turkey.
In 2016, after uncovering a series of corruption scandals put by bureaucrats and personalities affiliated with the AKP, the Gulen movement was accused of stirring unrest and attempting to establish a Parallel State structure, but the movement denied these allegations.
Following a failed coup d'etat in 2016, the Gulen Movement has been classified as a terror organization by Ankara, causing about 80,000 people, including civil activists, teachers, and journalists to be arrested on charges of terrorism.
Another 150,000 state and military staffers were fired or suspended from work over suspected ties to the Gulen movement.
Letter also sent to Depart of Homeland Security, which was pressed by Trump White House to squeeze Fethullah Gülen, Turkish Islamic scholar in exile in Pennsylvania who Erdogan blames for 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. Wyden asks DHS to explain its actions. https://t.co/o9xEeOUHkw pic.twitter.com/5GvXggw2IU— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) December 3, 2020
On Tuesday, during a press conference with Sweden's recently appointed Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters, "Currently, Bulent Kenes from FETO is in Sweden. It is of great importance for us that this terrorist is deported to Turkey."
Kenes, the former editor-in-chief of ZAMAN daily who is currently taking refuge in Stockholm, told reporters on Friday that he was worried about the possibility of being extradited back to Turkey where he is wanted by authorities over charges of conspiring against the government.
Read more: Finland, Sweden must 'take steps' before NATO approval: Turkey