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Pompeo In Turkey For Fraught Visit With No Official Talks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Istanbul on Tuesday, with no official meetings and included an agenda focusing on religious freedom that Ankara dismissed as “irrelevant.”

Washington’s relationship with its strategic NATO allies remained tense, despite the personal friendship between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Legep Typ Erdogan.

A group of 20 to 30 Turks shouted, “Yankees go home!” Evangelical Christian Pompeo has expressed his “strong position” on religious freedom in a meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox world.

Pompeo publicly criticized Erdogan for converting Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia monument into a mosque in July.

“Being here is an incredible privilege,” Pompeo told the patriarch.





Members of the Turkish Youth Union (TGB) advocate anti-American slogans and have placards
AFP / Ozan KOSE

Prior to Pompeo’s arrival, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that the United States should “look in the mirror first” before raising the issue of the “totally unrelated” subject of religious freedom to Turkey.

Pompeo’s seven-country tour is complicated by his shameless support for Trump’s unfounded allegations of fraud and attempts by US allies to position themselves for Joe Biden’s president-elect. I am.

The two-night stay of US diplomats in Paris included a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, but usually there was no press conference following such a meeting.



U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) listens to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) listens to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
Pool / Patrick Semanski

Still, Turkey’s feet seemed destined for the problem from the beginning.

Officials said Pompeo wants to visit Istanbul to meet the Patriarch and is ready to meet Erdogan and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mebrut Chabsogur, provided he comes from the capital Ankara. ..

After fierce negotiations, the meeting seemed possible before the negotiations collapsed.

“This was a matter of schedule,” said a senior US official.

“President Erdogan’s schedule has shifted and it is no longer possible to match the parameters set from the beginning.”



Pompeo's seven-country tour is complicated by his shameless support for Trump's unfounded allegations of fraud.


Pompeo’s seven-country tour is complicated by his shameless support for Trump’s unfounded allegations of fraud.
AFP / Ozan KOSE

It’s hard to tell if Joe Biden’s election, which congratulated Erdogan on being called by the US media three days after his victory, affected Inblogrio.

But that would mean that Pompeo could not discuss with the Turkish authorities the very issue he pointed out on Monday after meeting with Macron in Paris.

“President Macron and I spent a lot of time on Turkey’s recent actions and agreed that they were very aggressive,” Pompeo told the French daily Le Figaro.

Macron has sparred with Prime Minister Erdogan on various regional issues and shares Pompeo’s distrust of Turkey’s strong foreign policy stance.

Pompeo cites Turkey’s “support” for Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenia and reiterated the allegations denied by Ankara that it “deployed Syrian troops” to support the Azerbaijani army.

“We also mentioned that action in Libya, where we sent troops from third-party countries and mentioned that action in the eastern Mediterranean. I was able to continue this list.” Said Pompeo.

“Europe and the United States must work together to convince Prime Minister Erdogan that such actions do not benefit his people.”

This issue adds to the controversy over the controversial acquisition of Russia’s advanced S-400 missile defense system by Ankara.

According to US law, the purchase should trigger immediate sanctions, but Trump has pardoned Turkey.

Turkish troops tested the S-400 just weeks before the US vote.

The US State Department warned last month that “sanctions are very important” and “very realistic” possibilities.

The visit is consistent with the New York Times report’s announcement last week that Trump asked his aides, including Pompeo, about the possibility of attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Officials “discouraged the president from proceeding with a military attack,” the report said.

Pompeo did not have a scheduled press conference where he could work on the story.



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