Anthony Blinken testifies at his nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 (photo Voice of America)

US Secretary of State Nominee Anthony Blinken Calls Turkey ‘So-called Strategic Partner’ at Senate Hearing

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WASHINGTON – Anthony Blinken, awaiting confirmation as the next US Secretary of State, shares the concerns that many American senators have regarding Ankara. “Turkey is an ally that in many ways is acting not as an ally should. This is a very, very big challenge for us, and we are very clear about it,” the nominee stated in response to an inquiry by Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), incoming Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair, at the nomination hearing on January 19.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID) echoed Menendez’s perspective. Risch has been known for criticizing Turkey on many occasions for buying Russian armaments, stating of Ankara that “these interests are in direct conflict with Turkey’s long-standing allies in NATO and fuel instability in the region.”

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) inquired as to whether Biden’s administration would pursue more sanctions against Turkey, “until they change the behavior.” Blinken, who had looked into some of CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), before coming to the Senate, stated that what Turkey has done in acquiring the Russian S-400 missile system is unacceptable: “The idea that a so-called strategic partner of ours is in line with one of our biggest strategic competitors – Russia, is not acceptable. We need to see the impact the existing sanctions we have had and then determine whether more needs to be done.”

The final part of Robert Menendez’s questioning was about the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide and its acknowledgment by the Biden administration.

The video of the segments related to Armenia/Artsakh and Turkey follow.

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