In what was described by sources as a fiery confrontation between Turkey and NATO allies at Tuesday’s NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting, the US did not hold back its feelings on Turkey’s change of foreign policy and behaviour.
Specifically, outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted Turkey over its provocative behaviour in the East Med and for purchasing the Russian anti-missile system S-400, actions which he said are contrary to the principles and operation of NATO and ultimately undermine its cohesion.
According to diplomatic sources, Pompeo referred to the provocative actions of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya, Syria, Nagorno-Karabakh and to Turkey’s purchase of the Russian anti-missile system S-400 which he described as “a gift to Russia” by a NATO alliance member.
The alliance’s deconfliction mechanism, which is not working because of Turkey, should restart, sources said quoting him.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mehmet Tsavoysoglou protested angrily at the accusations and went off-script during his defence of the Erdogan regime whilst also accusing Greece of having ‘maximalist ambitions’.
Greece rejected the accusation with Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias accusing Turkey of being the main disruptor in the region and demanding that it respect international law.
Dendias added that all NATO allies must demonstrate in practice their commitment to key NATO principles, such as democracy, respect for human rights, and respect for the rule of law. In addition, he said, the need becomes even more urgent at a time when authoritarian and revisionist states are openly violating international law, threatening regional stability and transatlantic cohesion in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya and the Caucasus.