(Associated Press) ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asserted on Wednesday that many in the U.S. and Europe are branding U.S. president-elect Donald Trump a “dictator” because he wasn’t their favoured candidate. Erdogan called on them to respect democracy.
Addressing a meeting of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul, Erdogan also accused Western nations of calling any leader that did not serve their interests a despot.
“The West will continue to welcome tyrants who have blood on their hands with red carpets and label anyone who criticizes them as a dictator,” said Erdogan who is frequently criticized for his increasingly autocratic style of governing.
“Are they calling someone a dictator? Then you should think the opposite. That person is good, because (he or she) goes against their interests,” Erdogan said.
Turkey’s relations with President Barack Obama’s administration have been tense. Ankara has strongly objected to Washington’s support for Syrian Kurdish militia who are linked to outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey and perceptions that the U.S. is reluctant to extradite a Muslim cleric who is accused of masterminding a failed coup in July.
Erdogan spoke with Trump soon after his election and has said he hopes his triumph would be an “auspicious” development.
In the televised speech, Erdogan said anti-Trump protesters in Western nations had no respect for democracy or the result of the U.S. election.
“In America they started calling Trump a dictator. In various countries of Europe they spilled into the streets and started saying ’dictator,”’ said Erdogan. “I thought you were democrats? Why aren’t you respecting the results of the ballot box?”
Erdogan added that he was not concerned about Trump’s comments on Islam or Muslims, saying the president-elect would “correct” them once in office.
“We are used to such things in politics,” Erdogan said. “They speak that way today and then they’ll correct that wrong,” he said.