Turkey irked by Blinken comments, says US should remain neutral
Turkey lashed out on Thursday over comments by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicating a sterner stance from Washington over Turkish activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
“We have called out actions, including by Turkey, that violate international law or commitments as NATO ally and that includes provocative actions against Greece,” Blinken told the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
“The US should be neutral in the eastern Mediterranean,” Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said in response to the comments.
“It should not allow countries which are seeking to confine Turkey to its shoreline,” he added.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, meanwhile, told reporters in Qatar that Turkey should not be criticized by NATO allies for purchasing the Russian S-400 missile defense system, a deal that has been staunchly opposed by both the previous and present US administration and other members of the alliance.
“When Turkey needed an air defense system, it primarily made an effort to get this system from its NATO allies. Unfortunately, our NATO allies were, citing various different excuses, unable to give an air defense system to Turkey. Thus, in such cases, we have to buy defense systems from different sources,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported Cavusoglu as saying.