On December 2, during a videoconference of NATO foreign ministers the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu exchanged accusations.
According to the American Politico newspaper, Pompeo blamed Ankara for stoking tensions with NATO allies. In turn, Cavusoglu accused the U.S. Secretary of State of phoning European allies to gang up on Turkey, and also of siding “blindly” with Greece in regional conflicts.
By the end of the meeting, Turkey was virtually isolated among the 30 Alliance member states, who were dissatisfied with its actions. Many ministers, with French FM Jean-Yves Le Drian being the most active, accused Ankara of exacerbating the conflict in Libya, sending weapons and mercenaries to support the Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.
Meanwhile, websites that monitor the air traffic (Flight Radar, etc.) regularly record the Turkish military transport and cargo aircraft flights to the central and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea towards Libya.
As hostilities in Libya are stalling, well-informed sources indicate that Turkey keeps on recruiting new mercenaries in northern Syria for further participation in events in Libya. The deliveries of Syrian fighters and weapons to Libya carried out under the control of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is causing anger among the international community.
Despite widespread criticism against Turkey, it is not likely to anyhow affect partnership within NATO. Turkey holds a very important strategic position on the southern front of the Alliance, counterbalancing Iran and Saudi Arabia influence. Where geopolitical stability and initiative are concerned, NATO will always rely more on Ankara than on Paris or Berlin.
Mike Pompeo has a clear vision of this situation, but he is ready to perform a small show for the public to calm the dissatisfied ministers. This is a part of the diplomatic art used worldwide.