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Erdogan calls US unrest ‘disgrace for democracy’

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called the storming of the US Congress by Donald Trump’s supporters a disgrace that has “shocked humankind”.

Erdogan had developed a close personal friendship with the outgoing US leader and had waited three days before congratulating Joe Biden over his November 3 presidential election win.

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But he pulled no punches in condemning what happened on Wednesday in, as Erdogan put it, “the so-called cradle of democracy”.

“This is a disgrace for democracy,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.

“We hope that the transition to Mr Biden on January 20 will be peaceful and that America will go back to being at peace.”

Erdogan also extended condolences to the families of those who died in the violence.

Ankara’s relations with Washington suffered from a failed 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan that he blames on a US Muslim preacher Turkey has unsuccessfully sought to extradite.

But Erdogan’s friendship with Trump has helped shield Turkey from past sanctions and also muted US criticism of Erdogan’s deteriorating record on human rights.

Erdogan’s comments Friday represented one of his strongest repudiations to date of the Trump administration.

The Turkish foreign ministry had issued a more muted statement late Wednesday urging the US to “overcome this internal political crisis in a mature manner”.

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