US President Joe Biden will raise the issue of Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean during his upcoming meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Responding to a question by Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat and chairman of the foreign relations panel, about what the administration was doing to address a series of provocative activities by Turkey under Erdogan, Blinken said he shared the concerns about Ankara’s behavior which he described as “deeply disturbing.”
“Our differences with Turkey… are no secret,” Blinken said. “In many aspects it is not acting as the NATO ally it should be, not the least of which with the acquisition of the S400s from Russia,” he said, confirming that differences between Washington and Ankara will be at the center of talks between the two leaders.
Blinken added that Washington was “pleased” to see Ankara pulling back from some of its activities in the region, “including removing its ships from waters that Cyprus considers to be part of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and stopping the drilling.”
In his comments, Menendez slammed Turkey, a NATO ally, for drifting away from the West “on all the core principles that we believe in.”
“Turkey is constantly violating – from my perspective – international law when it seeks to threaten Cyprus in its EEZ, when it declares an economic zone going to Libya that is not recognized at all but it interferes with Greece’s EEZ,” Menendez said, while also criticizing Turkey’s role in Nagorno-Karabakh and Libya.
“So what are we doing?”, he asked.