US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and visited the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολη, Turkish: İstanbul) today.
The Secretary of State arrived in Constantinople on Monday evening ahead of his meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, that has already occurred.
In fact, in front of the Patriarchate was a group of ultra-nationalists belonging to the Turkish Youth Union numbering some dozens of people protested the visit, shouting slogans such as “America out.”
Less than three months before President-elect Joe Biden‘s new administration assumes office, the Secretary of State’s visit included Turkey as part of his 13-23 November trip to the Middle East, where he is meeting with officials from six other states, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
However, Pompeo has rejected several offers to meet with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and other Turkish officials, opting to only meet with Patriarch Bartholomew I.
Çavuşoğlu even proposed that he could fly to Constantinople to facilitate the American officials schedule – that offer was also rejected.
The U.S. Secretary of State also visited the Patriarchal Church of St. George today.
On Twitter, the Secretary of State said:
“Honored to meet with His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, and to visit the Patriarchal Church of St. George today. As leader of the Orthodox world, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is a key partner as we continue to champion religious freedom around the globe.”
It is also known that the Secretary of State’s wife, Susan Pompeo, is a devout Orthodox Christian.