( WASHINGTON ) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, joined other members of the Committee earlier today for a meeting with Ahmet Davutoglu, Foreign Minister of Turkey .
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“The United States and Turkey have enjoyed a strong relationship for more than 60 years, and an example of the close ties between our nations has been Turkey 's continued help and cooperation in Afghanistan .
“However, as I expressed to Foreign Minister Davutoglu today, I am deeply concerned about many of Turkey 's recent policies and positions.
“ Turkey's support for the Iranian regime is extremely troubling, particularly its vote in the UN Security Council against imposing strong sanctions on Iran and its pledge to increase trade and investment with Tehran. Such support for a dangerous pariah state directly undermines U.S. security interests and stability in the Middle East .
“The rhetoric against Israel from Turkish government officials is irresponsible, reprehensible, and dangerous.
“And Turkey 's ongoing restrictive policies towards the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church are continuing to infringe upon the basic religious freedoms of over 300 million believers worldwide.
“The human rights picture in Turkey also appears to be worsening, and I am deeply concerned about reports of opposition voices in the media being silenced and of increasing Islamist influence in Turkish society and the purging of secularists from the military.
“It is my hope that the Turkish government will reconsider some these troubling policies.”