Mike Pompeo’s reference to religious freedom provoked strong dissatisfaction in the Turkish political leadership.
As a result, the country’s Foreign Ministry reacted; issuing a statement declaring completely inappropriate the language used by the State Department and pointing out that religious freedom in Turkey is protected.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, from November 13 to 23, will tour seven countries in Europe and the Middle East, including Turkey, where no contacts with government officials are expected, except for his visit in Phanar and his meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
According to a statement issued by the State Department, Pompeo will pay a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch to discuss “issues of religious interest in Turkey and the wider region and to promote our (USA’s) strong stance on religious freedom worldwide”.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry reacted calling on the US to “look at themselves in the mirror first” in order to “show the necessary sensitivity to human rights violations in the country, such as racism, Islamophobia and hate crimes.” “Our response has been duly conveyed to the United States,” the statement said, “along with our advice to focus primarily on increasing cooperation between our countries on regional and global issues.”