Skip to main content

US elections 2020: Turkey says 'no change in relationship' if Biden wins

Despite fears in Ankara that Biden is pro-Kurdish, Turkey's foreign minister says his country will work with whoever wins
Then-Vice President Joe Biden (left) with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara in 2016 (AFP)

Turkey said on Friday that it will continue to work with the United States regardless of who wins the presidential election.

With the result in this week's US election still on a knife-edge – but looking increasingly hopeful for Democratic candidate Joe Biden – the Turkish government has said the outcome will not affect their alliance, despite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's close relationship with Donald Trump.

'Of course, individuals have an impact, positive and negative. The sincere friendship between our president and Mr Trump continued through the most difficult times'

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish foreign minister

In recent years, Trump's administration has been crucial in preventing the imposition of sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian air defence system, while Biden has been seen by some in Turkey as more sympathetic than his predecessors to Kurdish groups.

However, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey had worked with Democratic and Republican administrations alike and overcome difficulties with both.

"Of course, individuals have an impact, positive and negative. The sincere friendship between our president and Mr Trump continued through the most difficult times," Cavusoglu said.

Analysts say Turkey's bilateral ties could suffer if Biden becomes US president. The Turkish lira, which is already trading at a record low against the dollar, could come under more pressure. However, Erdogan's top aide, Vice President Fuat Oktay, said Ankara was not afraid of sanctions.

"No country, including America, has the chance to implement a foreign policy, programme or policy in the region in spite of Turkey or by excluding Turkey," Oktay told broadcaster A Haber on Friday.

"Turkey is no longer a country which shrinks from, or is scared of, sanctions. Sanctions would increase further our resolve and our determination," he said.