U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tour of seven U.S allies in Europe, the Middle East, and the Caucasus, and his meetings with officials from other countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, have disgruntled Ankara. It was not only the announcement of the State Department, which announced the meeting of the head of American diplomacy with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at Fanari that annoyed Turkish authorities, but also the fact that the State Department stressed that Mike Pompeo would visit Turkey on November 16 and 17, and be discussing “issues of religious interest in Turkey and the region and promote the strong stance of the United States in terms of religious freedom around the world “.
Pompeo clearly snubbed his Turkish counterpart Cavusoglu, whom he will not meet during his upcoming visit to Turkey.
Through Hami Aksoy, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey it was described as “irrelevant”. The reference to issues of “religious freedom” was the point that was particularly contentious to Turkey. “Our response has been duly transferred to the American side, along with our advice to focus primarily on strengthening cooperation on regional and international issues. “It would be more appropriate for the United States to look in the mirror and show the necessary sensitivity to human rights abuses inside the country, such as racism, Islamophobia and hate crimes.”
It seems that the international standing of Fanari is something that Ankara cannot reconcile with. Especially when the issue of religious freedom is reminiscent of the growing weakening of religious freedom in the neighboring country. In addition, there is no doubt that there will be an official reaction from Washington to the closure of Hagia Sophia. In fact, there is a concern on the part of Ankara that there may be other actions until Trump leaves. A possible example is greenlighting the imposition of sanctions on Turkey over the purchase of the Russian S-400 system.