Pelosi was critical of Trump’s claim that the US election transition might lack clarity, which led her to say that she wanted to remind the president that the US is not North Korea or Turkey.
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu slammed US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Thursday in a tweet in which he then tagged US President Donald Trump and appeared to order him to do Ankara’s bidding. Turkey’s ruling party has increasingly sought to play a role in the US Presidential elections, attacking US Democratic candidate Joe Biden and now Pelosi.
In August, Turkey slammed Biden after a video emerged of Biden critiquing Turkey’s ruling party. In Turkey thousands are imprisoned for any critical remarks against Turkey’s president and all media is pro-government.
Turkey is the largest jailer of journalists in the world. Ankara has threatened the US in the past, ordered US soldiers to leave Syria in October 2019, detaining a US soldier in 2018, imprisoned a US pastor, imprisoned an employee of the US consulate and sending Turkish security to attack US protesters in Washington, DC in 2017. Ankara is also one of the most hostile regimes to US foreign policy in the Middle East, leading the charge against the US recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and hosting Hamas leaders which the US views as terrorists.
Turkey’s ruling party’s attack on Pelosi came after the US speaker of the house critiqued US President Donald Trump. Pelosi was critical of Trump’s claim that the US election transition might lack clarity, which has led left leaning media to claim Trump is undermining the election. Pelosi said that she wanted to remind the US president that the US was not North Korea or Turkey.
In response Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, said that “Speaker Pelosi’s rise to become Speaker of the House is what is truly worrisome for American democracy, given her blatant ignorance. You will learn to respect the Turkish people’s will,” he wrote, tagging Trump. The tag appeared to be a way to bring Trump into the discussion on Turkey’s side, as if Trump would discipline Pelosi in some way.
Ankara has increasingly behaved like it controls the US and Washington in its statements. It has also done the same with attacks on Europe, bashing France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and other countries over the years. Turkey has also been accused of renditioning opposition and dissidents from Europe, targeting them using Interpol and other means, and also confiscating property of dissidents who left for abroad. It has also targeted educational institutions and most recently been accused of targeting a politician in Austria. Israeli intelligence, according to reports at the Times in London, views Turkey as a rising threat and recent Israeli military assessments have drawn the same conclusion.
Turkey bashed Israel at the UN this week, causing Israel’s ambassador to leave the general assembly. Ankara’s ruling regime has vowed to “liberate Al-Aqsa” from Israel, a threat in which Turkey appears to want to play a larger role in opposing Israel in the holy city.
Turkey has taken an increasing interest in the US election. After Biden critiqued Ankara the ruling regime’s spokesperson in Ankara Fahrettin Altun said that Biden reflects “an interventionist approach toward Turkey.” He said that “nobody can attack our nation’s will.” The use of the term “will” was the same one the foreign minister used in bashing Pelosi. “We believe that these unbecoming statements which have no place in diplomacy by a presidential candidate from our NATO ally, the United States, are unacceptable to the current administration too,” Altun wrote in August. This appeared to also seek to gain favor with Trump against Biden, similar to Cavusoglu tagging Trump in the tweet, as if to show that Trump and the ruling party in Turkey are on the same side.
A recent article at NBC claimed that Ankara, including through its foreign minister, had sought out “well-connected” lobbyists to influence the US. These reports look back at a period in 2016 and 2017 as Ankara sought to gain favor with the new US administration. It is not clear if it was successful because Turkey is one of the most anti-Israel regimes in the world and regularly bashes Trump’s policy and mocks Trump’s envoys such as James Jeffrey.
On May 16, 2017, during a Turkish presidential visit to the US, peaceful protesters were attacked by Ankara’s regime security near the Turkish embassy in Washington. Prior to the attack peaceful protests were permitted in the US capital and foreign forces had never attacked US protests. However, despite some complaints from US officials and the Washington police, charges were dropped and it appears that it became acceptable for foreign countries to send security forces to the US and attack US protesters. Ankara followed this up with the detention of the US soldier, pastor, consulate employee and others, including harassment of US journalists.
Ankara’s goal in the current comments toward Pelosi appear to be rare, but increasing, attempt to run US foreign policy and domestic policy from Ankara, ordering US officials to accept the “will” of Turkey. It is unclear if US officials, including elected officials who have been critical of Turkey, will adhere to the Ankara guidelines.