US says Erdoğan’s remarks on Turkey, Egypt and Ukraine protests are ‘ridiculous’

Erdoğan is having an interview with Charlie Rose. (Photo: Cihan)

The United States has delivered one of its harshest statements in response to remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who claimed that some groups in the US and the West are behind protests in Egypt, Ukraine and Turkey, calling them “ridiculous.”  

“Let’s be clear. This is not about the US. We are not behind any legitimate, democratic protests we have seen in any of these countries. So let’s be very clear: This is not about the US. We’re not doing anything. This is internal Turkish matter,” US State Department acting spokesperson Marie Harf told a daily press briefing.  

Erdoğan said on Monday that the Turkish government has not accused the US government of being the instigator of last year's Gezi protests but that some groups based in the US may have been involved.

“We have never claimed that the US government is behind the [Gezi] protests. However, there are some groups that may have provoked the unrest,” he said.

In remarks on a talk show hosted by Charlie Rose on the PBS television station, Erdoğan accused foreign powers of being involved in the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, as well as in Egypt and Ukraine. He said that the Turkish government has documents that prove that these protests are managed from a specific foreign location.

Erdoğan blames a so-called interest rate lobby for the Gezi Park protests, implying that foreign countries and powerful financial institutions have -- along with local collaborators -- been plotting against the government.

When pressed about the remarks, Harfie said the US certainly believes that people all over the world should be able to legitimately express their points of view and that US has nothing to do with that. “This is not about us. This is about each of these countries,” she said.  

When reminded again about Erdoğan’s remarks he made on Monday, Harf said she thinks “it is ridiculous” and that she would point to the facts on the ground.