In an trade that warmed the hearts of all Greeks and Greek Cypriots all over the place and was reported as front-page information, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on December 1 harshly blasted Turkey’s more and more questionable position within the alliance throughout a NATO Ministerial teleconference.
NATO and Turkey out of synch
The State Department has not launched an official transcript of Pompeo’s remarks, however studies of Pompeo’s harsh tone have been rapidly leaked from varied allied individuals within the NATO teleconference. In his brief however heated trade with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Pompeo reportedly criticized Turkey by language not often if ever used with allies for its acquisition of Russian S-400 missiles over its allies’ sturdy opposition, for ongoing maritime disputes with Greece and Cyprus, for its help of the Tripoli authorities in Libya, and likewise for its current materials help for Azerbaijan within the recently-revived battle with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Pompeo reportedly mentioned that the navy “deconfliction mechanism” agreed earlier this fall between Athens and Ankara isn’t working due to Turkey. If that was not sufficient, Pompeo additionally pressed Turkey to behave extra like a real NATO alliance member, accusing the nation of thwarting makes an attempt to construct unanimity for very important reforms.
Cavusoglu responded angrily to Pompeo within the teleconference, accusing the US of blindly aligning with Greece (Pompeo has visited twice in 15 months) and of constructing a collection of calls earlier than the teleconference to rearrange for different allies to hitch in Pompeo’s criticism. Some allies reportedly did this, however whether or not it was preplanned is unknown.
A warning Turkey can’t ignore
What does this imply? The Turks could also be tempted to play Pompeo’s commentary down because the rantings of an outgoing Trump Administration official who solely weeks in the past was denying that President Trump had misplaced the November election. But they need to not overlook that the transition in Washington is underway and for quite a few causes Pompeo is now expressing the views of the State Department forms which would be the main supply of the incoming Biden Administration’s new coverage positions.
Ankara shouldn’t underestimate for one minute the depth of distrust official Washington has within the authorities of Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor misjudge Washington’s willingness to take further robust steps wanted to get rid of Turkey’s choices in international coverage in addition to prohibit the monetary help wanted if Turkey is to get better from the disastrous financial insurance policies Erdogan has ordered.
Ankara might also be inclined to spin Pompeo’s feedback as these of a US official hoping to make a 2024 Presidential bid, thus distancing himself on the final minute, and probably just for the report, from President Trump’s near “hands-off” coverage towards Turkey, aside from these cases when lively US intervention was legally required, reminiscent of the problem with sturdy accusations of Iran sanctions violations by Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank (that case might be the supply of attention-grabbing new revelations as soon as President Trump leaves workplace).
Ankara shouldn’t underestimate the depth of anger throughout the US authorities over the Russian S-400 missile system acquisition, successfully endangering NATO safety. Pompeo reportedly referred to as this deal “a gift to Russia” in his NATO remarks. The very seen and almost noisy ejection of Turkey from the F-35 fighter program as a consequence of the S-400 deal, with huge bipartisan congressional help, is one instance of what it has already price Ankara to impress the US Government. In addition, Washington isn’t approving Turkish requests to buy Patriot missiles. Allowing that very same F-35 plane to be procured by Greece on preferential phrases might be the following step, which will even be broadly supported within the Congress.
In addition, Washington’s lively help of the dual East Mediterranean coordination initiatives which have developed during the last years (Greece, Cyprus, Israel in addition to Greece, Cyprus, Egypt) is the opposite huge loss for Turkey in recent times, and as these groupings speed up work on tangible vitality initiatives, may imply huge long run losses for Turkey each in regional affect and earnings.
Ultimately the Pompeo feedback will simply develop into a historic footnote, however that is nonetheless necessary in setting the stage for developments within the coming week. On December 10, EU members might determine at their upcoming summit whether or not to start the method of making use of sanctions towards Turkey for violating Greek advert Cypriot maritime financial zones to seek for gasoline or for breaching a UN arms embargo on Libya.