US and Turkey target each other in NATO meeting

US and Turkey target each other in NATO meeting
Date: 2.12.2020 14:00

Verbal clash during foreign affairs ministerial overshadows report on how alliance should adapt for 2030.

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Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed Turkey during a virtual meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday, accusing Ankara of stoking tensions with fellow allies in the Mediterranean and of giving a gift to the Kremlin by purchasing a Russian-made anti-aircraft system.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu fired back, accusing Pompeo of phoning European allies and urging them to gang up on Turkey, of siding blindly with Greece in regional conflicts, and of refusing to sell Ankara U.S.-made Patriot anti-aircraft weapons.
The sharp clash over videoconference, confirmed by multiple allied delegations, came as Pompeo was attending what was likely his last NATO foreign affairs ministerial on behalf of President Donald Trump — a meeting that was intended to focus primarily on a new report about how NATO should adapt for the next decade. Some diplomats speculated that Pompeo was using his last meeting to inflame tensions that could make life difficult for the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The new report, by an outside group of experts, was commissioned after French President Emmanuel Macron complained last year about conflicts among allies, including Turkey, saying the alliance was experiencing “brain death.” The report urges allies to “pledge themselves to a code of good conduct” and “consider establishing a Centre of Excellence for Democratic Resilience dedicated to providing support to individual allies.”
Several allies backed up Pompeo by speaking out against Turkey, including French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who denounced Ankara’s behavior and said cohesion within the alliance would be impossible to achieve if Turkey mimicked Russia’s aggressive interventionism.
By the end of the meeting, it was clear that Turkey was virtually isolated among the alliance’s 30 members. A renewed call by Çavuşoğlu for NATO to take a role in Libya’s civil war was rejected by the other allies, who have accused Turkey of exacerbating the conflict by sending weapons and mercenaries to support the Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.
After Çavuşoğlu accused Pompeo and the U.S. of taking a maximalist position in favor of Greece regarding conflicts in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias hit back, saying if the Greek position is maximalist, “so is international law.”
Turkey has been at fierce odds with other allies for years, but has also proven the most militarily assertive NATO member, and particularly adept at achieving its objectives with hard power.


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