U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s two visits to Cyprus and Greece in one month cast a shadow over Washington’s impartiality on the issues, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Spokesman Ömer Çelik said on Tuesday.
Çelik “strongly condemned” Armenia for its “attacks on Azerbaijan,” in a press briefing following Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
The AKP spokesman accused Armenia of breaching the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire on Sunday, reiterating Turkey’s position that the disputed region belongs to Azerbaijan – a regular talking point for AKP government officials.
Although the Nagorno-Karabakh region is officially recognised as part of Azerbaijan, it is governed as a de facto independent state with an ethnic Armenian majority. There are a number of U.N. resolutions calling on Armenia to withdraw from the region and around.
Responding to a question, Çelik turned to Pompeo’s visit to Greek cities and said “Pompeo ended up visiting Greece twice. He visited the island of Cyprus, but not the Turkish side. This situation has cast doubt over United States’ impartiality. Turkey has expressed it was open to diplomacy many times. The United States needs to get back to the balanced policy again.”
Turkey and Greece have been at loggerheads over a set of issues in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean, both in the air and the sea. Tension further escalated in August when Turkey sent its seismic vessel in the disputed waters in the East Mediterranean.
Çelik said Turkey could resolve issues at the table if its opponents were ready to do so. “If they don’t want that,” Çelik added, “Turkey knows well to deploy its armed forces.”