Secretary of State Nominee Questioned on Turkey and Nagorno-Karabakh

01/20/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) – This week, the U.S. Senate is holding confirmation hearings for President Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees, including his nominee for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. During Blinken’s hearing, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) specifically questioned him regarding the U.S.-Turkey alliance amidst Turkish domestic abuses of human rights and its aggressions in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh).

The senator listed several human rights violations committed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and concerning Turkish military aggressions in the Middle East. Senator Menendez asked Blinken if he was “clear-eyed” on the status of the Turkish alliance, to which Blinken said he was and that Turkey was an ally who has not been acting like an ally.

In his comments, Menendez heavily criticized the Trump Administration’s approach to Turkey, saying President Trump had “coddled” Erdogan.

Senator Menendez has long been an ally of Armenian Christians, advocating for the U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide of 1915 and condemning Turkey’s aggressions in Nagorno-Karabakh, even going as far as to call out the war crimes of Turkish ally Azerbaijan in the conflict.

In accordance with Blinken’s comments during the hearing, the incoming Biden Administration is poised to take a harsher stance on the Turkish alliance. Especially with allies like Senator Menendez in Congress, a Biden state department headed by a Secretary Blinken will signal a staunch shift in U.S. attitudes towards Erdogan.

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