New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
We need to be clear-eyed regarding trends in Turkey, said Ambassador Victoria Nuland, Biden’s nominee for Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, echoing Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Nuland was replying to a question by Chairman Robert Menendez, during her hearing at Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.
Although she mentioned S-400s and Nagorno –Karabakh, Nuland avoided to touch upon Turkish provocations in Eastern Mediterranean.
Speaking about Turkey in his introductory remarks, Senator Bob Menendez said that President Erdogan got a free pass from the previous administration.
“And we are seeing the effects – the purchase of a Russian missile system, military aggression in Nagorno-Karabakh and Syria, and bellicose actions against Greece and Cyprus. Although it is considered a NATO ally Turkey seems to want to break with us instead of be our partner. I don’t agree with Erdogan’s choices, but we must begin to reorient ourselves in the Eastern Mediterranean, towards democracies that share with us our values and our security interests. The administration has an important opportunity here and I hope they seize it. “
Menendez also pointed out the problems arising from the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh, blaming the previous administration for absence of policy. Menendez also stressed that the United States should press Azerbaijan to release the prisoners of war he has and refuses to release in violation of international law and insure that the Armenian that were displaced from their homes get the assistance the need.
Nuland told Menendez that she has worked for 25 years in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.
“The way things went down last year was absolutely tragic for so many in the region. As you said, we must have the prisoners released, we must have humanitarian support in; we have to insure the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Armenia and that they can make their own decisions. And we have to talk to our ally Turkey. The Secretary has spoken about needing to be clear-eyed regarding trends in Turkey. We have a lot of work to do there in our bilateral relationship, to make clear our concerns about not only what Turkey is doing outside its country but also what is doing inside its country.
I thing we are going to get that into the business of strong support for the Caucasus countries being active diplomatically getting high level leadership there, showing support etc and using all of our economic and humanitarian tools.”
Echoing on the points raised by Chairman Menendez, Senator Chris Van Hollen also criticized Turkey for purchasing S-400 missiles from Russia.
“Turkey is violating the airspace of another NATO ally, Greece, invaded the territorial waters of Cyprus. Under Erdogan they attacked our Kurdish allies in Syria; additional measures are taken in Armenia. This doesn’t sound like a faithful ally to me”.
Replying to Senator Van Hollen, Victoria Nuland agreed with him that “this is a very challenging ally relationship that will require kind a whole lot of work”.
“As I said to the chairman, I agree with the Secretary of State regarding the need to be clear-eyed about it. It makes zero sense to me for a NATO ally to buy new Russian weapon systems; it’s also another bipartisan concern across the United States to continue to press Turkey on this issue, as well as all of the others that we have together, including democracy and human rights inside Turkey.”
KAREN ERIKA DONFRIED
The White House announced on Thursday that President Joe Biden nominated Karen Erika Donfried, a former Obama administration official and a German specialist, for Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.
Dr. Karen Donfried currently serves as President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Before assuming this position in April 2014, Donfried was the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council. Prior to that, she served as the National Intelligence Officer for Europe on the National Intelligence Council. She first joined GMF in 2001 after having served for ten years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service.
A political analyst told the Greek News that Donfried’s appointment is an effort by Biden administration to reproach Germany.
“Germany, in particular, found itself alienated by Trump and his combative ambassador, Ric Grenell. To patch up that friendship, Biden could turn to Karen Donfried, former senior director for European affairs on Obama’s National Security Council. Donfried is a fluent German speaker who holds a degree from the University of Munich and is currently president of the German Marshall Fund.”
When Dr. Donfried was at GMF from 2005 to 2010, she first served as senior director of policy programs and then as executive vice president. From 2003-2005, she worked in the Policy Planning office at the U.S. Department of State, handling the Europe portfolio. Donfried has written and spoken extensively on German foreign policy, European integration, and transatlantic relations. She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies. The King of the Belgians awarded the Commander of the Order of the Crown to her in 2020 and she became an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2018. Additionally, she received the Cross of the Order of Merit from the German Government in 2011 and a Superior Service Medal from the National Intelligence Community in 2014. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Council on Germany. Donfried has a Ph.D. and MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, a Magister from the University of Munich, Germany and holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University. She is fluent in German.