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Top US House Foreign Affairs Lawmakers Accuse Turkey of Undermining NATO

© AP Photo / Turkish PresidencyTurkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his party members, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his party members, in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020 - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) - The chairman and ranking Republican on the US House Foreign Affairs Committee urged other NATO nations to join the US in demanding in a press release that Ankara halt actions that damage the Western alliance.
"While we continue to see real value in a strong US-Turkey relationship, its destabilizing actions need to be more strongly addressed and the United States must work with its European and NATO allies and partners to continue to use all of the tools at their disposal to demand that Turkey reverse course," the Foreign Affairs Committee chair, Eliot Engel, and ranking Republican, Michael McCaul, said on Wednesday.

The congressmen also urged the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to end his government's "provocative behavior" so that Washington and Ankara can re-establish cooperative relations based on mutual security interests and democratic values.

The release listed a number of steps made by Ankara that the lawmakers said had damaged the alliance, including the Turkish government's purchase of a Russian-made S-400 air and missile defense system, as well as offshore energy explanation in Mediterranean waters claimed by fellow NATO member Greece, and Ankara’s military operations in Syria.

The release also accused Erdogan of undermining democratic institutions, including judicial independence, a rollback of democratic rights and recent efforts to target locally-employed staff at US diplomatic outposts with what the lawmakers call baseless criminal charges.

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