Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized U.S. leader Joe Biden’s remarks describing Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "killer," the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported Friday.
Biden ignited a diplomatic crisis with Moscow on Wednesday when he answered "I do" after being asked in an ABC News interview if he thinks Putin is a “killer,” adding that the Russian leader would “pay a price” for election meddling.
“Mr. Biden's comment about Putin does not suit a head of state,” Erdogan was quoted as saying after Friday prayers in Istanbul.
“For me, Mr. Putin has done what is necessary by giving a very, very smart, very classy response,” he added.
On Thursday, Putin mocked Biden’s comments by saying “it takes one to know one” and wishing the 78-year-old “good health.”
Biden has not minced words for Erdogan, calling him an “autocrat” in a 2019 interview and highlighting Turkey's deteriorating record on human rights. Turkish-U.S. relations are also hampered by Ankara's purchase of advanced S-400 air defense systems from Moscow, which Washington says threaten NATO defenses.
Erdogan and Putin normally share a close relationship but their bond has been strained over conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria and Libya.
Despite their opposing interests, Putin called the Turkish leader “a man of his word who does not wiggle his tail” at his annual press conference in December.
AFP contributed reporting.