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Turkey hopes for 'respectful' relations with Pompeo: Cavusolgu

CIA chief Mike Pompeo [pictured] replaced Rex Tillerson as US Secretary of State [AFP]

Date of publication: 15 March, 2018

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has expressed hopes for better relations between Ankara and Washington as Mike Pompeo becomes the United States' top diplomat.

Turkey's foreign minister says he hopes to work with CIA director Mike Pompeo - who has been picked as the new US secretary of state - in a "mutually respectful" manner.

Mevlut Cavusoglu made the comments in Moscow on Wednesday during a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart, in response to a question on whether Turkey is concerned by Pompeo's appointment to replace Rex Tillerson.

Pompeo is reported to have once described Turkey as a "totalitarian Islamist dictatorship" in a tweet.

Cavusoglu said Pompeo's appointment was America's "own decision."

The minister was scheduled to meet Tillerson in Washington on March 19 but said his trip could now be postponed.

The two NATO allies are trying to patch ties that were strained by Turkey's opposition to US support to Syrian Kurdish militia.

Ankara has rejected calls from its allies, including the US, for it to suspend its assault on the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin in Syria.

Ankara is fiercely opposed to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which is dominated by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) - considered by the Turkish government to be a terrorist group.

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