News World In parting shot, Pompeo rebukes Turkey at NATO meeting

In parting shot, Pompeo rebukes Turkey at NATO meeting

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used his final NATO meeting this week to sharply criticise Turkey, saying its purchase of a Russian weapons system was “a gift” to Moscow, according to five diplomats and officials.

At the confidential foreign ministers’ video conference, Pompeo said Turkey was undermining NATO’s security and creating instability in the eastern Mediterranean in a dispute with Greece and non-NATO member Cyprus over gas resources, said the diplomats and officials, who asked not to be named as the discussions were confidential.

While the U.S. and other NATO allies have long been odds over Turkey’s military intervention in Syria and Libya, Pompeo’s remarks underscored the depth of tensions at the Western alliance that many experts say dangerously weakens it.

Pompeo, who leaves office in January as U.S. President Donald Trump’s term ends, also told Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that Turkey was wrong to send paid Syrian fighters to Libya, as the U.S. Defense Department concluded in a report in July, and also to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

That prompted further chiding of Turkey by allies in the meeting, including France, Greece and even tiny Luxembourg, as well as defiant counter-accusations from Cavusoglu, said the diplomats.

The meeting tone was described as “measured” but “more confrontational” than is usually the case at NATO.

The unity of NATO “was not possible if an ally copied Russian actions”, a diplomat cited French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as saying in his intervention, referring to Moscow’s fuelling of proxy wars by sending in mercenaries.

A U.S. official, speaking on background, said there had been a “frank, closed door discussion” but declined to give details.

“The United States has urged Turkey on multiple occasions to resolve the S-400 (Russian weapons system) issue, cease using Syrian fighters in foreign conflicts, and cease provocative actions in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the official said.

Turkey’s Cavusoglu said on Thursday he could not comment on a confidential meeting.

“I just outlined the differences between the two countries and outstanding issues, he told a public event. “We had to purchase (a weapons system) from Russia because we could not from our allies,” he added.

Turkish sources with knowledge of the meeting said that Pompeo made “unjust accusations” and that were was no united front against Turkey. Turkey was also open to talks with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean with no preconditions, they said.

FUTURE

European Union leaders will consider sanctions on Turkey, which is host to U.S. nuclear warheads, over the Mediterranean gas dispute on Dec. 10.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg spoke by telephone on Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron, whose office said that the pair “had the opportunity to directly and in confidence address the concerns expressed by a growing number of allies in regard to Turkey’s strategic choices”.

Tensions threaten to overshadow a new high-level report on NATO’s future that was released this week.

Stoltenberg is seeking to address the tensions with Turkey in part by making recommendations to NATO leaders next year on how to make the alliance stronger politically, including creating a code of conduct to bind allies together.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Action plan drafted for gradual unlocking of covid measures

Health experts advising the government on covid-19 have expressed cautious optimism that the strict restrictive measures currently in effect should be lifted by end...

Church and bagels to go: Biden’s first White House Sunday

President Joe Biden attended a church service in Washington's Georgetown neighbourhood and stopped for bagels at a hot pink shop named "Call Your Mother"...

Navalny supporters protest his arrest, in Moscow

Law enforcement officers detain a woman during a rally in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia January 23, 2021.

Police still looking for young man missing from mental hospital

Police are still looking for a 20-year-old man missing from Athalassa Psychiatric Hospital in Nicosia since Saturday afternoon. He is Theodoros Topouzides (top photo) from...

Mainly fine on Monday with high cloud in the afternoon

Mainly fine on Monday with high cloud in the afternoon and light to moderate north-easterly to south-easterly winds blowing at a force of 3...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...