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Biden contradicts the White House, says he never apologised to Turkey

November 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm

American Vice President Joe Biden said he did not apologise to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the statements he made last month at Harvard University regarding Ankara’s support of extremists in Syria.

In an interview with CNN yesterday, Biden said: “I never apologised to him. I know him well. I’ve dealt with him. I called him and said, ‘Look, what was reported was not accurate to what I said, here is what I said’.”

On October 4, after Erdogan demanded that Biden apologise if the reported statements were true, the White House issued a statement saying that Biden called Erdogan and “apologised for any implication that may have been made by him regarding Turkey or any other allies in the region supporting or facilitating the Islamic State (ISIS) or any other extremist groups in Syria”.

Biden’s statements, which caused a stir, were made on October 2 during his speech at Harvard University in which he said that some countries in the region, including Turkey, the UAE and Saudi Arabia poured hundreds of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons in to anyone who would fight against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in order to overthrow his regime. He also added that these countries “woke up” after ISIS’s growth.

Biden also said that Erdogan, who he described as an old friend, told him: “You were right, we allowed many people in and we are now working on closing the borders.”

In the aftermath of these statements, the Turkish president said on October 4 that “if it turned out Biden has really accused Turkey of helping fuel the Islamic State group’s growth; he will be history for me,” adding, “if Mr Biden really made such statements at Harvard, he must apologise to me”.

In the daily White House press conference on October 7, spokesman Josh Earnest used the word “apology”, saying: “I think the vice president was pretty candid about why he owned President Erdogan an apology, because he had mischaracterised his private remarks, and that was why he made the phone call and apologised during it.”