Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the assault on the US Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters was a “disgrace” that “shocked humankind,” expressing hope for a peaceful transition of power on January 20.
“This process in the US, which was described as the so-called ‘cradle of democracy’, really shocked all of humanity,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Friday.
“This is a disgrace for democracy.”
“We hope that the transition to Mr [Joe] Biden on January 20 will be peaceful and that America will go back to being at peace,” the Turkish president said.
On Wednesday, throngs of mostly white pro-Trump supporters, some armed and carrying Confederate flags and others dressed in tactical gear, breached the Capitol building, largely unobstructed by law enforcement officers.
The riot, which was intended to disrupt the ceremonial counting of Biden’s electoral votes in Congress, has been in part blamed on President Trump’s rhetoric and his refusal to concede defeat in the November 3 election. Lawmakers resumed the certification process after a few hours and confirmed Biden as the next president.
The rioters were met with light resistance and it was hours before law enforcement regained control.
The Capitol police said 68 people were arrested, mostly for breaking a curfew announced by the mayor of Washington DC. Dozens were escorted from the premises, not even in handcuffs. Several weapons and improvised explosive devices were found and seized by the police.
In a speech on Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden denounced the double standard in police response to the violent attack on the Capital Hill.
“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they would have been treated very, very differently than a mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” Biden said.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Erdogan extended condolences to the families of those who died in the violence.
Immediately after the Wednesday events, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement urging the US to “overcome this internal political crisis in a mature manner.”
Ankara and Washington have been at odds since 2017 over Turkey’s decision to purchase the S-400 systems, which the United States says are not compatible with NATO weapons and pose a threat to Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets.
The S-400 is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.
Moscow and Ankara finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 in December 2017.
The delivery of S-400 launchers began in July 2019, infuriating the US, which had long warned that Turkey cannot have both the S-400 and the American Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets.