- “France’s president Emmanuel Macron and I agree that Turkey’s recent actions have been very aggressive."
- Pompeo refused to meet with the Turkish Foreign Minister.
- Pompeo said Turkey's growing reliance on its military might was worrying.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Paris-based newspaper Le Figaro that the US and European governments must work together to address the policies pursued by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Middle East over the past few months. During his visit to Turkey, Secretary Pompeo refused to meet with the Turkish Foreign Minister.
The US Secretary of State says Europe and the United States must stand united against Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s aggressive policies in the region.
“France’s president Emmanuel Macron and I agree that Turkey’s recent actions have been very aggressive,” Secretary Pompeo was quoted as saying by Reuters.
In this regard, Secretary Pompeo referred to Turkey’s recent actions in Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenia, as well as Turkey’s military movements in Libya and the Mediterranean Sea.
“Europe and the U.S. must work together to convince Erdogan such actions are not in the interest of his people,” Secretary Pompeo was quoted as saying. He said Turkey’s growing reliance on its military might was worrying.
The US Secretary of State, however, did not say whether Turkey should remain in the NATO military alliance. Meanwhile, the US military base in Incirlik is still in Turkey.
Pompeo Refuses to Meet with Cavusoglu
Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reports that Secretary Pompeo flew to Istanbul on a private plane on the evening of Monday. The purpose of the trip was to meet with the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Church of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.
Secretary Pompeo did not visit Hagia Sophia, a monument to Christianity in Istanbul, that President Erdogan recently ordered to be turned into a mosque. He also refused to meet with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoglu, and rejected his request to do so.
Before leaving for Istanbul, Secretary Pompeo said he would not meet with any Turkish officials. In response, Turkish officials have called Secretary Pompeo’s approach an insult.
Secretary Pompeo told reporters last Friday that he was scheduled to travel to seven countries in ten days, focusing on freedom of religion. A trip to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, does not fit into these trips.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoglu called the meeting between Secretary Pompeo and the religious leader of the Greek Orthodox Church “extremely ill-considered,” and an interference in his country’s internal affairs. He said Turkey attaches great importance to religious freedom.
Çavuşoglu: Turkey has the Same Role as Russia in Nagorno-Karabakh
A “joint Russian-Turkish center” has been set up to monitor the fire in Nagorno-Karabakh. In this regard, a Russian delegation traveled to Ankara to discuss with Turkish officials the details of establishing a joint Turkish-Russian center and monitoring the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire.
Following the conclusion of a peace agreement between Armenia and Turkey, Russian officials announced that Turkey would not enter Nagorno-Karabakh.
“No Turkish peacekeeping force will be present in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said bluntly.
However, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey would be in Nagorno-Karabakh with Russian troops, and that a Russian delegation would travel to Ankara to divide the work. On the eve of the Russian delegation’s visit to Ankara, Foreign Minister Çavuşoglu said that Turkey would “play the same role as Russia” at the joint monitoring center.