Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reacts angrily after US Vice President Joe Biden says Ankara has supported extremist groups, including al Qaeda. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Turkey over comments made by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Turkey's role in Syria. Biden said Turkey and other regional countries had been so determined to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that they had supported extremist groups including al Qaeda and al Nusra Front. Now outrage from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "If Biden has used such expressions he will be history for me. I have never made those remarks. Neither at that time when I was the Prime Minister, nor today, we have never provided help and support to any terrorist organization - I say terrorist organization - including the Islamist State. Nobody can prove otherwise." In an address to Harvard University students last week Biden said Erdogan told him they had made a mistake by letting so many foreign fighters through the Turkish border to fight Assad's forces. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "It is very inappropriate to make such accusations against Turkey. I regret it. The last time we met when I was in the United States, I never said: 'We were wrong, we made a mistake, you were right.' It never happened. If Mr. Biden has made those remarks at Harvard he should apologize." Biden's comments are the strongest yet from a senior U.S. official on Turkey's alleged support for Islamist groups in Syria's more than three-year-old civil war.