Pompeo: There will be ‘devastating’ consequences if Turkey attacks Syria
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies on the Department of State budget request for FY2020, during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on March 27, 2019. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI |
April 4 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Turkey of “devastating” consequences if it attacks Syria.
Pompeo gave the warning to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Wednesday in Washington during the first day of the two-day NATO Ministerial, State Department Spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.
“Secretary Pompeo expressed support for ongoing negotiations regarding northeast Syria, while warning of the potentially devastating consequences of unilateral Turkish military action in the region,” Palladino said in the statement.
The warning comes as Turkey has repeatedly threatened to attack the Kurdish-led American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces as it believes the Islamic State fighters are also far-left Kurdish militants who are affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Turkey has been fighting.
America, on the other hand, has supported the SDF in its fight against the Islamic State, even delaying the withdrawal of troops from Syria in order to ensure their protection.
Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, however, balked at Palladino’s description of the conversation between the two men, saying it was “obviously prepared before the meeting” was held.
“[It] contains matters that were not even raised during the said meeting,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Sami Aksoy said, adding that similar issues have occurred in the past.
“Our alliance naturally requires that such statements are prepared with greater care, while avoiding to include matters that were not raised during meetings,” he said.
Following the meeting with Pompeo, Çavuşoğlu said via Twitter that it was “constructive,” without elaborating.
Earlier in the day, Turkey criticized U.S. policy in Syria, saying it didn’t know what it was.
“No. And this is the problem,” Çavuşoğlu said when asked about the United States’ Syrian policy, Politico reported.
“I don’t want to make comments about the internal methods of your country, but again, different positions, different statements coming from different institutions and departments in the United States,” he said. “The State Department and defense, actually, as well as the military on the ground, [U.S. Central Command] and all that. Different positions. There is no clear strategy, this is the problem.”
Çavuşoğlu said during the NATO summit that Washington and Ankara have created a joint task force to sort out this issue and he plans to meet this week with both Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton.