Joe Biden has apologized to Turkey's president Recep Erdogan, after essentially implying he had inadvertently helped facilitate the creation of ISIS.
The vice president said, during an appearance at Harvard on Thursday, Turkey funneled money into forces fighting the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad, including groups that would become ISIS. (Video via Al Jazeera)
JOE BIDEN, VIA HARVARD UNIVERSITY: "President Erdogan told me, he's an old friend, said, 'you were right, we let too many people through. Now they're trying to seal their border.'"
Whether or not that actually happened, implying that Turkey helped in the creation of one of the most infamous current terror groups was never going to get the nicest response from the Turkish president, and it didn't.
TURKISH PRESIDENT RECEP ERDOGAN, VIA CNN: "If Biden has 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 or support to any terrorist organization."
Now, the vice president putting his foot in his mouth is by no means a new phenomenon — Biden's well known for his gaffes — but compared to recent stumbles the geopolitical nature of this one — offending a key regional ally — stands out. (Video via Fox News)
But Biden is hardly only one to make such claims. As one op-ed in The Wall Street Journal from June argued, "The ISIS crisis in Iraq is inextricably tied to the dangerous and permissive border policies of Mr. Erdogan's government in Turkey over the past two years."
The timing is especially sensitive, considering Biden made those remarks the same day Turkish parliament voted to authorize further military operations against ISIS, although — as The New York Times notes — that move could be largely political.
"[Turkey] has been deeply cautious about intervening against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and the militants have so far been careful not to draw Turkey directly into the conflict."
And to further illustrate the gravity of his Turkey gaffe, it has largely overshadowed that in the same Q & A, Biden essentially described his job as, "a bitch" — a comment that almost certainly would've been media gold otherwise.
Biden didn't specify when his alleged conversation with president Erdogan took place, and he also made the same implications about the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.