Erdogan delivers brutal G20 slapdown to ‘unimportant’ Biden
Joe Biden addresses missile strike in Poland
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Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has snubbed Joe Biden after the US meeting called by the US President to discuss yesterday’s deadly missile strikes on Poland. Details are still emerging following yesterday’s explosions, with Warsaw saying a Russian-made missile fell in the country’s east, killing two people.
Mr Biden had invited leaders from other NATO countries to discuss the alarming development at the G20 summit in Bali.
However, when asked why he had opted to skip the talks, Turkish President Mr Erdogan, who had met with Mr Biden earlier, did not mince his words, saying: “We are not obliged to attend unimportant meetings.”
Mr Erdogan also accepted Russia’s denials of any involvement, saying: “Russia saying this has nothing to do with them and Biden saying these missiles are not Russian-made show that this has nothing to do with Russia.”
His comment was a reference to Mr Biden’s earlier suggestion that it was “unlikely” the missile was fired from Russia, with US officials saying initial findings suggest the missile was in fact fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian rocket.
Russia has responded by denying responsibility, with the defence ministry claiming the fatal attack was “a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation”.
The spokesman added: “”The wreckage published by Polish mass media from the scene in Przewodow have no relation to Russian firepower.”
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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was among the world leaders who did attend Mr Biden’s roundtable meeting, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Japan’s premier Fumio Kishida and Canada’s Justin Trudeau and others.
They pledged to offer their “full support” for Poland’s investigation into the incident.
The Polish government has raised the country’s level of military preparedness, with statement issued by Polish Foreign Ministry identifying the weapon as being made in Russia.
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President Andrzej Duda was more cautious, saying that it was “most probably” Russian-made but that its origins were still being verified.
He added: “We are acting with calm. This is a difficult situation.”
Despite being a member of NATO, President Erdogan has maintained noticeably more cordial relations with Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, than other members of the alliance.
The pair met on the sidelines of a regional summit in Kazakhstan last month, having also met in Uzbekistan in September.
Turkey was instrumental in brokering a deal to open up Ukrainian grain exports to ease global food shortages earlier this year.
It also incurred the wrath of the United States after acquiring Russia’s S-400 missile system in 2019.
As a result, Turkey was suspended from the F-35 fighter jet programme, with a US statement explaining: “”F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities.”
Washington also slapped sanctions on Ankara in response.
As of 2020, 4 batteries consisting of 36 fire units, and 192+ missiles were delivered to Turkey by Russia in accordance with the £2.1billion agreement.
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