Pompeo: Bullying is not a means of resolving disputes in East Med

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has sent an indirect but clear message to Turkey about the way it operates in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In a televised interview, he expressed hope that the parties involved would realise that there issues would be best solved with dialogue and return to the negotiating table.

“There are mechanisms, legal mechanisms, international law that can resolve [a maritime dispute],” Pompeo said.

“Coercion, bullying, military activity is not the way to resolve it.”

“I hope that every party that is engaged there will come to see that, and they’ll get back to the negotiating table and resolve their maritime conflicts.”

Fears were raised over Turkey’s alleged plan to purchase a new S-400 missile system, sparking concern for their European neighbours.

Screenshot of video reportedly showing S-400 being transported to Sinop for tests next week (via social media)

“It is a pity that they chose to buy the S-400 weapon system. We call on them to review and back down,” he said.

The U.S. relationship with Turkey has become increasingly strained over the past two years. Although the standoff over the S-400 has been the central issue, Erdogan’s October 2019 incursion into Syria also created a major rift between the two NATO allies.

“This is a far cry from maximum pressure, and from getting allies to do the right thing,” Thomas Karako, a missile defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington said.

“The price of the administration’s failure to impose sanctions has now become increasingly more apparent.”

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