U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday that his visits to the Mediterranean were geared towards resolving several issues between NATO members, adding that the United States needed Turkey to continue to be part of the military alliance.
The secretary said there were legal mechanisms and international law in place for a peaceful resolution to the high tensions between Turkey and Greece over territorial and resource rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Coercion, bullying, military activity is not the way to resolve it,” he said. “I hope that every party that is engaged there will come to see that, and they’ll get back to the negotiating table.”
“We need Turkey to be a good NATO partner to assist in the security of NATO’s southern flank,” Pompeo said.
Calling Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems “unfortunate,” Pompeo urged the country “to reconsider that and to pull it back.” The United States maintains that the S-400s are incompatible with NATO weapons, and pose a security risk.
In a letter to Pompeo on Wednesday, two U.S. senators expressed concern over whether Turkey had integrated the S-400s into NATO’s tactical data link, and whether that would “enable Russia to gather information on NATO allies.”
Earlier in the interview Pompeo had said the Greek people as well as other Europeans and Arab nations “understand the instability that Iran creates,” and that normalisation steps with Israel from Arab states show an understanding that “hatred of Israel is not a good policy, that they are a democracy, a capable economy, a good security partner as well against the threat from Iran, and this is a fundamental shift that has taken place.”