Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu does not plan to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the American official’s visit to Istanbul next week, Middle East Eye said in a report on Wednesday.
According to the London-based media outlet, Cavusoglu’s decision to “snub” America’s top diplomat comes in response to Pompeo’s failure to include Turkey during recent visits to the Eastern Mediterranean – during which he visited Greece and Cyprus.
“Turkish officials made clear that Cavusoglu wouldn’t meet Pompeo unless he comes to Ankara for an official visit,” Middle East Eye quoted a source as saying.
According to the US State Department, Pompeo will be stopping in Istanbul to meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios “to discuss religious issues in Turkey and the region and to promote our strong stance on religious freedom around the world.”
The stop in Turkey will be part of a November 13-23 trip to France, Georgia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the State Department said in its announcement on Tuesday.
“Americans maintain that Pompeo’s agenda is too packed and he couldn’t make space for Ankara. They wanted to have a meeting [with Cavusoglu] in Istanbul, which isn’t going to happen,” Middle East Eye quoted its source as saying. “Naturally, Cavusoglu decided to snub him, since Pompeo will soon be leaving office anyway.”