Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that from now on, his “doors are closed” to the US ambassador to Ankara, Jeffry Flake, blasting the diplomat’s recent meeting with his rival in the upcoming presidential election.
Erdogan attended a ceremony in the Bagcilar district of Istanbul on Sunday, dedicated to the official opening of nearly 100 houses and other facilities built in the wake of a series of devastating earthquakes. In a follow-up meeting with a group of officials from the far-right Grey Wolves movement, he focused on the May 14 election and the US envoy’s alleged abuse of his diplomatic authority.
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“We need to teach America a lesson in these elections,” Erdogan said, as cited by Anadolu.
Ambassador Flake met with the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, on March 29, “as part of continuing conversations with Turkish political parties on issues of mutual interest between our two countries,” according to a tweet from the US Embassy.
“Our doors are closed for him, he can no longer come in. Why? He needs to know his place,” Erdogan said. “Shame on you, think with your head. You are an ambassador. Your interlocutor here is the president.”
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Erdogan’s remarks come less than six weeks before presidential and general elections take place in Türkiye on May 14, with Kilicdaroglu put forward by an alliance of six opposition parties as his main opponent after months of political infighting. The president and his ruling AK Party are expected to face a tough challenge following the devastating earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in the country in early February.