Erdogan: ‘I’m alone, other leaders envy me’
'I don't care about being alone in the eyes of the world. What matters is how the people view me,' the Turkish president said
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has for the first time confessed that he feels politically 'isolated' from the world and suggested that other leaders “envy him “for “speaking his mind,” local news reports said.
Speaking to a group of journalists after a tour of Latin America, Erdogan said being “outspoken” when it comes to discussing regional issues made him “a target for criticism,” the Turkish Cihan News agency reported Monday.
But that does not matter as far as Turkish people keep up their support, Erdogan implied.
“I don't care about being alone in the eyes of the world. What matters is how the people view me. We saw [how people see him] during the presidential election that people sided with me. And there's no isolation when you consider other countries' people as well.
“Maybe there is an isolation on the level of leaders, but it's nothing other than envy,” Erdogan said, in remarks published in several Turkish dailies on Sunday.
The Turkish president provided his relationship with U.S. President Barack Obama as an example of political isolation. He recalled how his relationship with Obama “was good in the beginning” but then things changed.
“I had very good relations with Obama when he first came to power. We were even hosted at the White House as a family. We had one-on-one meetings. After all these talks, we see that things started to develop in a different way, which I could not understand,” said Erdogan.
Recently, Erdogan openly criticized Obama for not speaking up in the wake of a shooting that killed three Muslim students last week in North Carolina.
When asked if his remarks were too critical of Obama, Erdogan replied: “I don't know whether you find my statement harsh or soft. But this is unacceptable. We wouldn't remain silent if such an incident happened in our country. This is a requirement for a strategic partnership.”
In the same vain, Erdogan also brought up the situation in Egypt, wondering why the world “is not speaking out against” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Erdogan constantly blasts the West for supporting Sisi, who came to power after leading the army to overthrow Islamist President Mohammad Mursi.
Turkey is known to be a supporter of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group in Egypt, which Mursi hails from.
Erdogan has incessantly condemned the ouster of Mursi, saying it was a “coup” orchestrated by Sisi.
“When you speak out about these issues you are left alone, but not in the eyes of the people,” Erdogan said.