Timid Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman Menendez Refuse to Query Nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Turkey about Terrorism

Posted on November. 4. 2021

Several times this year, the U.S. State Department and Treasury Department have cited Turkey as a financial base for ISIS and al-Qaeda.  

Turkey has long sponsored ISIS and other terrorist organizations.  No serious observer disputes this.  

Turkey has armed, financed, and deployed terrorists in such locations as Syria, Libya, and Azerbaijan.  

On September 28, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) quizzed former U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), President Biden’s nominee to be Ambassador to Turkey.

The Committee —and particularly Sen. Menendez —shocked observers after failing to ask Flake even a single question about Turkey’s support of terrorism.  

Since 2014, veteran State Department advisor Dr. David L. Phillips, Director of Columbia University’s Program on Peace-building and Rights, has thoroughly documentedTurkey’s backing of ISIS and other terrorist groups.  

This year he wrote that if a “non-NATO country behaved like Turkey, it would warrant designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” like Iran and North Korea.  

In 2014, Vice President Joe Biden told his Harvard University audience that Turkey and others had been giving “hundreds of millions of dollars [and] tons of weapons” to al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and ISIS.

 

The United Nations, the European Union Parliament, and others have documented Turkey and Azerbaijan’s deployment of terrorists and terrorist mercenaries against the Armenian region of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabagh last year.  In a July 21 Committee hearing, Chairman Menendez asked Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland about “Turkey facilitating the transfer of fighters from Syria to Azerbaijan” in 2020. Nuland sneered that she would discuss it only “in another setting.”  

Whether a subsequent meeting between Menendez and Nuland happened “in another setting” remains unclear and has not been made public.  

AAHR concludes that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chairman Menendez, and ranking member Senator James E. Risch (R-ID) are consciously engaged in a cover-up of Turkey’s (and probably other countries’) terrorist activities.  

AAHR believes that Mr. Flake must be brought back before the Committee.  He should be questioned in detail and at length about Turkey’s ongoing support of terrorist organizations.  

If Mr. Flake is not totally forthcoming and transparent, the Committee must reject his nomination.  

The American people, especially our courageous men and women in uniform, deserve nothing less.  

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