Mike Pompeo erupts at Turkey in last Nato meeting ‘you’ve given gift to Russia!’
At the confidential foreign ministers’ video conference on Tuesday, 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 US 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 US 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 US 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 US official, speaking on background, said there had been a “frank, closed-door discussion” but declined to give details.