tv Hearing on U.S.- Turkey Relations CSPAN July 22, 2021 4:10pm-5:33pm EDT
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>> undersecretary of state for political affairs, victoria newman testifies on the biden ministration policy toward turkey and addresses human rights concerns, sanctions against turkey for purchasing and deploying in russia missile defense guarantee of free and safe elections in the country. the senate foreign relations committee is the host of this hearing that's an hour and 20 minutes. >> the senate foreign relations committee will come to order. let's start with the recent developments from the region. yesterday president -- announced
a plan to develop the town. over the years i've met with them to evacuate in 1974. linking invaded turkish army, many of them ended up immigrating to the u.s. forty-seven years following the invasion, their stories remain harrowing, a daily reminder of those terrible days in 1974. for years, many in the international community including president biden himself have supported a peace process which will establish a paisano by communal federation on the island. his visit cast these efforts aside as well as long-standing un resolutions. his goal is to advance a separate state on the island, simply put, this violation of international law is
unacceptable may expect to hear from the secretary to a plan on how the biden administration will respond. i read a letter to the president last week, his actions are not simply about cyprus but a crucial test for the un system and u.s. response. we need to see a strong statement of the un security council today condemning this move. unfortunately this pattern of turkish aggression across the region has become the norm. last summer, he provided military support, strikes against ethnic armenians and facilitated the passage of militants, syria to fight on their side. if these actions list at no penalty from the trump administration, no concrete reaction from the international community, no sanction. this is unacceptable and i expect more from this administration than i did the last and i look forward to understanding how the department
use turkey's role in last year's war and what measures can be taken response. i appreciate the excellent work done by the biden administration and reestablishment are rock solid bond with nato, the most powerful allies in the history of the world an essential pillar of u.s. national security so when turkey, as a nato member introduces an air defense system into its territory, it poses a significant threat to nato, it poses a significant threat to u.s. pilots, it poses a significant threat to our partners. under no circumstances will i support lifting the sanctions and 400 remains in turkey nor would i support turkey rejoining f35 program. i'm proud of the role played by congress to advance these sanctions and ensure implementation.
the message should be clear. any effort to weaken nato from within or outside will be met by our robust response by the u.s. in syria the u.s. and turkey remain across purposes multiple military interventions, some of which were directly related by the previous administration. turkey has created several zones of control in northern syria encompassing more than 4000 square miles, roughly the size of lebanon and contain forthcoming people into the population while these areas provide safe haven for millions of syrians displaced from government control, they have done so at a horrific cost local population have endured forced displacement and kidnapping from unlawful pension and torture, illegal property seizures and numerous violations upperhand of turkish opposition forces.
beyond human rights concerns, please actions directly undermine united states counterterrorism partnership with a syrian democratic forces and shared fight against the islamic state. this is also unacceptable. president has publicly asked president biden for greater cooperation with turkey and syria. it is paramount of the fenestration providing the committee with greater clarity concerning how it's addressing turkish role numerous human rights violations committed in northern syria and conditions will apply to any enhanced cooperation in this regard. in the bf despite the successful creation of unity government after years of conflict, turkey continues to maintain thousands of syrian mercenaries, the presence of which along with foreign fighters friends the country's upcoming elections as well as fragile peace. turkey capitalized with vulnerability oblivious previous government to extract a border
agreement in direct conflict with u.s. interests in the eastern mediterranean and violates greece and this international the boundaries and rights. these are not actions of a constructive partner, let alone a nato ally. he sees the country as on par with great powers of the world. it not. president has tragically short of its democratic institutions, imprisoning journalists, he started his political opposition for arrests sought to silence university professors. to say that more lawyers and journalists are arrested and in jail than any other place in the world missing something considering other places in the world. these are actions of the week government, not a world power and we should treat it as such.
this extends the united states embassy and in the country. to this day, several individuals remain in prison on these charges, it is disgraceful. the undersecretary i'm sure will agree to the u.s. embassy not be treated this way anywhere especially by a so-called ally. i look forward to hearing an update on their status and efforts to secure their freedom. we all hope for the day when turkey embodies high standard of democratic values and respect for human rights expected from a nato member. the region and the world needs to be stable and democratic turkey. under a future is a dim hope. i look forward to these and other issues and we appreciate your appearance before the committee with that. let me recognize chairman for his testimony. >> inca. one of the clear takeaways will be that there is bipartisan
agreement on the issues we have with turkey. turkey is a center of a complex geopolitical crossroads where the middle east meet and it borders increasingly important mediterranean and black seas. first and foremost, we must discuss direct bilateral relationship between the west and turkey which german has already done and i'm going to add to and at a deeper level, the relationship across the region. turkey is deeply interconnected and of course we must deal with them. before delving into the problem, i have to say how painful this is, turkey has been a longtime ally of the united states and european partners. obviously they are a nato ally even though they are not acting like an ally at this time. nonetheless, they are in in the
nato alliance images very painful to see the country deteriorate as it has deteriorated and all of the nato partners have had to the values and the things we value in nato. the most pressing aspect is the acquisition and continued use of the missile system. this remains an impasse and has now grown the most significant part of our relationship and it deeply troubling. it is unacceptable to reap the benefit of the benefit while refusing to commit to the basic relationship, interoperable alliance. they seemed to have forgotten that nato was formed specifically to push back against russian aggression dealing with them on military purchases like this is simply
unacceptable. this is an issue i raise turkish leaders at every opportunity. i had a clear discussion with the president in person, face-to-face where i laid out size nature of the problems created caused by the president of russia made, as 400 on the soil of a nato ally he understood are persistent, this issue will not go away and greatly impacts our overall relationship on several fronts when it comes to nato matters including f35. speaking of f35, after our conversation, he understood clearly even though they've paid for five of them, the five have been completing sitting here in the u.s., they will not be delivered to turkey so long as as 400 missiles on turkish soil
and the same with construction of parts for the 35. there were 900 parts for the f35 been produced in turkey onto a minimal amount right now and will eventually be clearly phased out. and on a positive note, first of all, he's pointed a new ambassador for the united states. this ambassador is aging and says, and i believe he wants to do his best to attempt to repair what's obviously deteriorating relationship. i hope he is successful in that guard. turkey's recent agreement to withdraw from libya shows they have the capacity responsible stabilization through diplomacy but remains to be seen whether they follow through on this and it's important we ensure that they do. likewise, turkey deserves recognition for hosting feelings of syrian refugees for the past
several years. we must make it clear, our relationship with our turkey, clearly condemning the bad i expect today to find these matters and develop a better understanding of how to address them in this emerging era. thank you. >> thank you and now secretary of state for political affairs. we welcome you back to the committee and look forward to hearing forward i ask that you summarize your remarks and service well i'm for dialogue, your statement will be included in the now thinking distinguished members of the committee. the patient today. as a committee asking u.s.
complex relationship with turkey nato ally years. there we are firmly in our areas where we don't see eye to eye working to close turkish government including regard to categories present biden in all of us who bring with our turkish counterpart officials start with the earliest operation turkey makes her from comfort contributions to nato missions around the world in partnership with turkey which has the second largest standing attorney in nato and enables us to protect power in the region and defend nato in the eastern and southern planks. we have an important economic relationship that generates upwards of $20 billion in annual bilateral trade including an
increasing energy and lng relationships. washington share priorities encountering influence in the middle east and turkey is a staunch supporter of ukraine and georgia's territory integrity and vocally supports their assumptions to nato. in libya, turkey torrance the resident others supporting blood human facilitated political process including prospect of elections december 24 this year and we are not discussing how to reduce the present these mercenaries before the election. in syria, you've mentioned turkey's presence in the northwest, protects 4 million syrians from them discriminate targeting this, new attacks that would be both humanitarian catastrophe and likely launch a new wave of refugees into turkey and europe.
we are grateful for turkey's ongoing efforts to support for feeling refugees inside making turkey the largest refugee hosting country in the world. most recently, turkey has expressed interest in maintaining a robust force at the airport as the u.s. and nato military nations in afghanistan come to an end. this contribution, as you all know is vital to ensuring we and our allies and partners can maintain a strong thematic presence after our troops withdraw. so even as we work closely on these issues, president biden has been clear with the president when we disagree and as have all of us. we continue to object turkeys purchase and deployment of the russian as 400 air defense system and has made clear any new major arms purchases from russia will trigger additional sanctions. as you both said, the production of f35 will remain suspended. we also trust turkey to avoid entanglement and regional
conflicts threatening long-term stability. the role played by third parties including turkey and masters finding exacerbated regional tensions and we have pressed turkey to press to release all detainees immediately to support cease-fire and help work toward a sustainable long-term political solution. we also urge turkey's leaders to address disagreements in the region through diplomacy rather than through provocative action or rhetoric. we condemn yesterday's announcement by turkish leader and president aired one which would allow turkish recipients to take control of russia. this is inconsistent with outdoor resolutions by 50 and 7s for it to be administered by the united nations. not as safe as this action was provocative, unacceptable and detrimental to the prospects for the resumption of settlement
talks. we urge reversal of this decision including phone call i made this morning and we are working with like-minded partners in the un security council. this comprehensive settlement to reunify the island by communal federation is the only path to lasting peace and stability. president biden made clear supporting democracy and human rights and rule of law central to his ministration protecting those freedoms is critical for turkey to be a stable democratic reliable out ally and partner. we have been clear at all levels with the turkish government and in the department annual rights report that are specific concerns and will continue to engage turkish government on individual human rights cases, media freedom, freedom of expression assembly and association, judicial independence and fair trial guarantees. in this regard, top concern
remains the release of mobile employees of u.s. mission turkey who have been unjustly detained. overall, we are working to try to resolve these concerns and advance our agenda through robust regular engagement at all levels with turkish counterparts and with candor and clarity in those discussions. i like to make one final thing before taking questions -- i know this committee is exploring how to expedite consideration of more than 20 state department senior political appointees and ambassadors in the weeks before the august recess and you recently noticed some additional hearing. we are very grateful what this effort and i want to underscore the strength of american diplomacy departments role the policy process will be greatly enhanced by moving these
nominees expeditiously to full senate confirmation before the recess. thank you very much and look forward to your questions. >> thank you. we will start a round of five minutes of questions and i will say on your last part, i totally embrace that. we are marching forward rather aggressively. we have a panel panel up for secretaries yesterday and have more, we disagreed on some for next week. i think the administration's challenge is on the senate floor not before this committee and i know senator cruz has taken the view he's going to hold up nominees over this issue and i respect both his prerogatives as well as extreme, i think it is detrimental to the united states not to have people on the ground in order to make the case and promote u.s. interests and we hope we can come to a resolution in that regard but let me start, do i have your commitment that sanctions will remain in place
on turkey if it continues to possess the russian as 400 air defense? >> you do and not only fight commitment but the president. >> does the administration maintain a commitment to all implementation of section 231, not only in turkey but for that fact around the world? >> we do. >> can i get your commitment to brief me if there is anything within the inter- agency to weaken or diminish the use 231 in turkey or anywhere else? >> yes, sir. >> as mentioned, turkey insists on a two state solution while our government rejected the notion at the highest level. i've seen some lower level officials at the state department have been quoted talking about turkish sovereignty. can you affirm the united states rejects the notion of two states? >> absolutely. as i said in my statement, we think only this process by
communal will bring peace and stability. >> are week working to ensure there would be a un resolution on this? >> we are and we have consultations yesterday in the run and they will continue until we have the product. >> is turkey establishing are drunk based? >> are not personally unaware about but i will take it to look at. >> my information is that they are and the question if they are, what are the implications of such a move from a part of the european union and others in the region like israel and egypt? >> would obviously be destabilizing. >> we are agreed. over the past year turkey violated week airspace and acted aggressively the exclusive economic zone. this has been happening in two eu member states. plaster muscles considered
sanctions that are responsive to this behavior but ultimately decided against strong measures. are you familiar with what role the united states played in the european sanctions. >> i'm not familiar with how we would have played inside the eu conversation. i am familiar with the fact we encourage both greece and turkey to have bilateral talks and encourage secretary general to be involved in trying to mediate this dispute as has been the case over many decades the situation has calmed somewhat. >> are you familiar of the u.s. swaying the eu from imposing sanctions? >> i'm not familiar but that does not sound right to me. >> i just heard your response to the question before, i appreciate we call on in many cases, both countries to act appropriately. the problem is when both
countries are doing something wrong, i get but when only one country is doing something wrong, it's a little disingenuous. as far as i know, greece is not over flying incurring turkish airspace. the turks are doing that to greece. they do it in the territorial waters of greece. they seek to grill in the territorial waters cypress so we can't be calling on both sides to ultimately try to negotiate in good faith when one is the aggressor and i think we made a huge mistake when we don't acknowledge the aggressor is in a certain set of actions. let me ask you, are you familiar with turkey with the transfer of fighters from syria to azerbaijan during the 2020 war?
>> i think it would be appropriate on the last part to discuss it in a separate session if that's acceptable to you in another setting. >> well as part of that, i will be looking forward to hearing from the department with you investigating the turkish drones used by azerbaijan of the work last summer including those component parts. do you support full implementation of the eastern mediterranean security and energy partnership act? a more i helped with senator rubio and members of the committee for the establishment of relational energy centers to help deepen energy cooperation of the region into deal both with security and renewable technology? >> we do and we have been engaged with the individual parties to encourage more ordination in that guard, it's one of the success stories of
recently. >> i want to go to other colleagues, the council of the european court of human rights order turkey to immediately release civil society leader kurdish leader from prison. what's the administration during to advocate for both of those individuals released? >> we've advocated directly for their release as well as other political prisoners as well as appropriate treatment of media and other unjustly prosecutions in turkey and we will continue to do so and we will do that at every level. >> how does state assess turkey's continued commitment to the as/400. i think a lot of us have been incredibly clear with them of the consequences and my sense is
they didn't really think we were to follow through on things. my sense also is they have come to the realization that we are serious about this and it's not going to go away. you show the assessment? one other thought might you have? >> as i said from when i came up from my confirmation hearing, it's in comprehensive to me and most of us why a nato ally would want to acquire a russian system and put at risk all the things that have been put at risk including the of 35 which was only a security benefit but also economic benefit to turkey so i think that you may have your finger on it but they walked into this or were romanced into this by the seller without
expecting that the cost would be as high as they have been in the it's uncomfortable and as high as they happen. we continue to offer them various ways and offense out of us including our most recent highest level encounter and we will continue to have that conversation but as we said, there are many things we cannot do together that we would like to while this moves forward. >> we discussed a number of times, it is mind-boggling that they have gone down and particularly when they have been offered to clear off ramps they've been offered which we can't talk about publicly completely but this is disconcerting the good news is, one of the things i think might have pushed over the edge is the fact that i don't think they thought we would take lifecycle reports that they were producing but i think that is a very
significant economic matter and totally in their hands that that happens. turning prominent to the agreement we all know about the mess in libya and turkey and russia both place apart making it messier and they now announced reached agreement to withdraw foreign troops. what states assessment to whether or not will come to fruition, what are your thoughts? >> you are not wrong about that. both turkey at the highest level and russia at the highest level have said they are willing to support withdrawal of mercenary forces but they want to do it in tandem with each other. we are working with current un
envoy mr. coolish on how that might work, a synchronized withdrawal and we are hopeful for progress on back before the election at the end of the year. >> thank you. i'm going to yield back. >> senator haggerty. >> thank you ranking member for holding this important hearing and i want to thank you secretary you and for your service and your presence and testimony but also for your long service to our nation. i appreciate it. you have cited complex relationship that exists with turkey and the chairman and ranking member have done a great job highlighting some of the issues associated with our critical strategic relationship with this nation. we have analyzed that existed
for many years between turkey and the united states. turkey plays a critical role in nato, when we need to continue to preserve and support but there are serious problems as noted between in many dimensions in terms of turkey's current behavior. think about the rest of u.s. government local employees and turkey, as/400 program ranking member and chairman have been to articulate about. turkey's purchase of russian aspects are disturbing to all of us. the crackdown on journalists and the friction that exists when forces collide with activity to fight against isis. it is a complex relationship as you say and i share the ranking member's optimism our new ambassador turkey will take a new approach, i had the privilege of serving japan with
him when he was ambassador to japan when i served as u.s. ambassador to japan so i share as noted with our new turkish ambassador, i hope you will have a good working relationship with him as well but i would be curious, this is a process question for the, curious to your approach in terms of having a structured strategic dialogue with turkey trying to preserve good and important strategic aspects of what needs to happen there while pressing hard on those issues where we will certainly differ and need to be strongest and i appreciate your talk and perspective and how you will approach that. >> thanks, senator. we approached this very much as president biden approaches all
of our strategic relationships which is to engage, engage, engage at every level and work together as many things as we can but to be frank when we disagree but i think you saw back when he and president met on margins of the nato summit about a month ago prior to that, we had deputy secretary sherman, one of her first overseas trip engage at all levels. i am now speaking promptly every two weeks with my turkish counterpart. we have excellent ambassador on the ground and the honorable senator -- to succeed him senate willing in the future so our process talk about every single issue with as much frequency amber as we can and try to close
the gap and when we can't, to be clear, we will call it as we see it as we did yesterday, i think you saw the tough statement. >> i appreciate that perspective and to the extent be on any aspect of but i certainly the role in the process, the role we could play in helping to address dispute like that existing between turkey and greece thinking about their posture and eastern mediterranean and the role the u.s. can play an address that with our allies. >> the good news is turkey has been back in talks particularly on this situation since january and they are meeting with regular wednesdays so we have encouraged from those and we have encouraged secretary general of nato as i said
earlier to be active to provide them a safe place to work through their issues and particularly as the chairman said when they are in the airspace that's unacceptable. i cut out of my statement but it's in the longer statement, we do encourage, as you also get back to the travel business, to consider athens ideally in a partisan way to talk frankly about both what is going well and the issues where we have to do better. >> thank you for your leadership. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. senator, i recognize myself next in line for questioning. good to see you. thank you for joining us today, i wanted to dig a little bit deeper into the dangerous slide away from democracy in turkey,
constitutional court ordered that the countries main pro- kurdish party on trial over alleged links to kurdish fighters, turkey's largest ethnic minority and hdt has grown so successful and popular that it briefly helps and their ruling parliamentary majority for the first time in over a decade. the state department has said that these attempts to essentially eradicate hdp from turkish political infrastructure would further undermine our democracy but you can talk about whether the state department has directly engaged with turkish government on this issue and what steps can we take, both executive and legislative branch
to try to make sure the upcoming elections in 2023r fair and robust multiparty system has undermined for utility between now and elections. >> thank you. we share your concerns about the treatment of the hdp, members of this committee have relationships with some of those members. obviously it's important close to the conversation we had with senator haggerty about the value we see in members of this committee and other leaders in congress making regular trips showing support for political leaders across the spectrum particularly those under particular pressure. this issue is very much part of our larger concerns about human
rights situation and turkey which we are frank about from the highest level onward that respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms appalling fair trial guarantees, independence of freedom of association, freedom of political practice are central to any thriving democracy and our view is very much the same as yours back turkey weakens itself when it doesn't uphold these fundamental freedoms and particularly in the area of pluralism. >> let me ask this specific question, what would be the impact of banning the harnish artist kurdish party? would be the impact on the upcoming elections and is there any justification for such a sweeping measure as necessary to continue what is a legitimate interest through the turkish government has on cracking down
on these terrorism works it still does pose a legitimate threat to the security of the country. >> when legitimate terrorism cases can be made in a free and transparent manner with access to independent judicial process and all of that, obviously it is in our interest and turkey's interest to take action but that is a different matter than using terrorism excuse to eradicate political pluralism for a ban of an individual party. there is a significant kurdish population and turkey which supports hdp and risks being disenfranchised were such a party to be banned. as you know majority party has made an effort to recruit hdp members into their fold, to the
extent that the party changes occur that needs to be with free will and without coercion. >> finally, given limited time but i'm interested to know whether the department is pursuing inter- pool reforms after the 2016 dumped the turkish government issued approximately 30,000 red notices on the system and of course some of the actions turkey has taken are consistent with the ways in which other nations have begun to compromise system and you have obviously increasing use of these attempts and attempts to target abroad. are we concerned about overuse of this system and is it something worth looking into an respect of a future agenda?
>> i'm going to take the question on what we are doing an integral reform but i will say you are not wrong that when the system is flooded with cases that don't meet the standards, it sucks up time and energy and money should be appropriate applied to cases that do meet the standards so it's it issue of concern. >> thank you, good to see you and appreciate your expertise and perspective in regard to strategy and turkey, i wanted to follow up on a line of questioning senator again with regards to production of nine parts for the f35, has that entered and we have a sense of the economic impact will be ending? >> yes, we are in the phased out
part and engagement, there were reasons to phase out the spare parts to ramp up production elsewhere so we wouldn't hurt the line globally. my understanding is that i'm going to ask you to go to dod on precise precise space now of being finished there. overall, turkey took a significant hit, not just in terms of security but in terms of economy from the program, both jobs and potential to export the chain in the future and particularly at a time when the turkish economy is hurting in other areas it was an
interesting decision by the government. >> there was some speculation earlier whether this was something there to one had considered and misjudge america's response but is there also the possibility was calculated and in a desire to draw closer to russia, can you characterize the relationship between, is it close, collaborative is he hoping to play the eu and u.s. off russia or is he moving pretty strong in that direction? >> let me start by saying our interest here is clear which is cementing turkey as much as we can and the turkish people with us in the transatlantic antenatal family and discouraging deepening
cooperation or dependence in particular on russia whether in the security or the field of energy or anything else for that matter without over analyzing hearing, i would simply say what i see as a longtime watcher of russia is in the past administrations, there was quite a deepening of turkish russian relationship that began in syria and expounded to other areas. i think there may, i will speak for the turks but i do sense some buyers remorse, let's put it that way in regard to that relationship that has not necessarily paid out and caused some of the problems we talked about already this morning. instead of culminating in the conflict we saw last summer which was only tragic for people
there but also further frayed engagements in turkey and russia and etc. so i think we have the opportunity here if we continue engaging with turkish allies to bring them back closer to us but there is a lot of work to do. >> let me ask you to speculate a bit your perspective as to what they may have been thinking and purposes behind supporting the safety of the airport as we withdraw from the region or the country and as we hope to bring interpreters and others afghanistan into the u.s., he's allowed his military or directed his military to play a role and secure the airport. any sense as to why he's doing that? >> i would just repeat what i said in the opening, this
decision by turkey is extremely welcome and absolutely vital to all of us who want to continue to maintain robust diplomatic progress in afghanistan and the people of afghanistan as we withdraw military forces so we appreciate turkey taking on that role. turkey has historically played a role at the airport so they are constructive partners and know what it is and their experience at it. they also have a unique special relationship both with afghan people but with other actors in the region which makes them a partner more likely to be welcomed there over the longer term. with regard to the presidents decision-making, i never liked to get in the head of another leader but my sense running the
presidents meeting was he appreciated how vital it was to have a strong nato which i through that mission if we want to stay engaged diplomatically with afghanistan and willing to take it on. >> thank you. senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you very much for your service. i listen very carefully to you defining the different buckets of interest between the u.s. and turkey, those we can agree and that those making progress and those where we disagree. you have a strong reputation of being very direct and clear in your bilateral conversations so i'm certain you are here with the turks in regard to the areas that we disagree having said that, president biden that our foreign policy is going to be embedded in our value so my question to you is how do you
deal with turkey? for americans went under this regime, fleecy reporters and of me imprisoned, citizens taken off the street, human rights record is too much and on top of that as we have talked about this issue and as 400 and etc. which looks more like russia rather than turkey so how do you reconcile how you deal with turkey and live up to president biden's commitment that foreign policy engagements are always going to be embedded with our values? >> as a member of this committee who knows our president probably best of all, we do it the biden way. he speaks truth about human rights concern, i've seen him do
it with leaders all around the world whether they are cap nato allies or president putin when he has concerns and as he said not to long ago, it's a matter of his dna but also a matter of our national dna. we have been very dear with turkey in our democracy and also important as you know, to stand with those turks who are facing incarceration, repression, unfair judicial targeting, press pressure and etc. as we do with those with human rights around the world's are speaking out privately is important but publicly as important as well. he meets all of us in that direction and i don't think that is going to change.
>> you talk about potential buyer remorse and terms of decisions made by turkey. my question to you, in order to be effective, we have to work with our partners and multilateral manner. considering turkey's action is particularly as 400 and nato will protocols will and other activities, what success are you having with our traditional partners working with us with maximum disappointment and pressure on turkey for these decisions? ...
that turkey is not part of this extremely important program on security in economic security so we continue to make those points and we have had to impose costs on ankara for these decisions that they have made that we try to do it as a community and as a nation not standing alone. >> it would be more effective if that cost was supported by at least our nato allies but other allies as well and have we've been successful in getting them to take action and the hear their language but to take action? >> i think as i mentioned the
eu, turkey's dialogue has been ongoing for decades and because of some of the internal issues in turkey have not progressed in the direction that either the eu or president erdogan hope it they are back in discussion again but i think the rigorous standards come to bear here and particularly with regard to the decisions made on russia yesterday. it's important that the eu has made its voice clear on that as well. yesterday there was a statement by mr. burrell and we have said to turkey that we worry that this moves put at risk the bigger game which is the potential for a union or something else with the eu. i do think that the allies and partners play an important role here but obviously the united
states has this long deep and rich relationship including our economic relationship which is perhaps the biggest. >> i think there's room for improvement. thank you mr. chairman. >> senator barrasso. >> senator barrasso. >> thank you very much mr. chairman and secretary nice to see you again. i want to talk about nord stream ii something we have discussed previously. there's strong bipartisan -- the president the ability to sanction all of the entities involved in the construction of the nord stream ii pipeline and now we see news reports of the united states and germany came to a deal on the nord stream ii national gas pipeline on the front news of today's "wall street journal." the president has made a deal with germany. secretary blinken has pledged work with congress as a set on the take off and not just the landing. he clearly failed to keep his word on this.
this new deal i believe is a great mistake. the president is giving russia a new geopolitical weapon. russia uses energy as a geopolitical weapon to coerce and manipulate paving the way for russian journey to pave this pipeline. i was in germany week or so ago and leaders in europe who are opposed to what's happening with nato. protecting this russian trap is not in our national security interests. it doubles your true lives in russian industry and gives more money to rush at a time when increased activities from russia and eliminates barriers for additional russian military action ukrainian territory and there are reports the administration attempting to silence the ukrainians from even raising concern about this new deal. congress is the only one willing to impose meaningful cost on
russian law and supporter allies facing russian pressure. it's clear that congress and american people can count on administration to do the right thing with regard to the spread why is it that the administration why do they believe it's extensible to feel this way when ukrainians are trying to silence them over this terrible deal with the germans? >> senator barrasso let me start by saying we agree with you that the nord stream pipeline is a bad deal and increases dependence on russia and increases dependence on hydrocarbon. you and i worked on it together in my last government gig very hard and particularly this to make those points and all of those things. with regards to the sanctions we did as you know both a significant number of new sanctions. we also impose sanctions on the
company and its officers however we waved them in the interest of seeing whether we could get germany to work with us and work with the ukrainians and poland to deal with the consequences and the vulnerabilities that this pipeline creates for ukraine. we have not and i want to repeat that here we have taken zero action to silence ukraine. ukraine is a sovereign nation will speak out regardless of the spray later this afternoon we will make public the agreement that they have with the german government and i'll give you a couple of the highlights here which -- in a minute that what i'd like to say is throughout this process we have engaged in intensive consultations with the ukrainians including when secretary blinken was there when
the president talked about it in my own conversations on a twice monthly basis with the ukrainian leaders on their requirements and their vulnerabilities as we worked on this with the germans. my colleague counselor eric chile was in ukraine the day before yesterday including to solidify the presence bid in washington later this afternoon. i as you know as a longtime friend of supportive ukraine believe that if we had not had this agreement with the pipeline 90% complete ukraine would be a considerably more readiness but let me just give you a couple of the highlights which will become fully public later this afternoon if i may. but its it's tiny. that i'm getting old here but among other things germany has
committed in this agreement with us that should russian attempt to use energy as a weapon to commit further aggressive acts against ukraine germany will take action at the national level and press for effective measures at the european level including sanctions to limit russian exports to europe in the energy sector and that's one aspect of agreement in the other aspect of this agreement is to ask for an extension of the transit agreement between russia and ukraine. as you know heads up in and 2024. we seek and press for a useful leverage should try to seek an additional 10 years for ukraine but more broadly we need to work together to reduce ukrainian dependence both an economic dependence on transit but it's all in dependence on russian gas so i think you will see a considerable effort by u.s. and germany to help diversify energy supply and energy source for ukraine with concrete dollar
figures and the figures attached to it. so look this is a bad situation that bad -- but we need to help protect ukraine and i feel that we have made some significant steps in that direction with this agreement. >> thank you. mr. chairman i have one question in afghanistan. it has to do with afghanistan remaining one of the most dangerous countries in the world with the taliban's increasing aggressive military actions in afghanistan has experienced increasing levels of violence reduced deteriorating security situation in afghanistan will impact the ability of our personnel and effectiveness of u.s. civilian missions there so the question is can you give a brief update on the status of negotiations with turkey providing forces to protect the airport and are we planning to downsize the diplomatic mission could both embassy staff having been there and understand the security risk of trying to
protect the people in the personnel compound there. >> senator as i said we are very gratified that they have agreed to provide a force to protect the airport and without that neither we nor our allies would able to maintain a robust presence. some of this size of the embassy has to do with our security relationship with afghan forces. we will now do most of that from an over horizon platform so that allows us to make some appropriate reductions and it is the president's intention and our intention to continue to if not redouble our diplomatic efforts and their assistance efforts particular area that afghanistan needs the most including the protection of men -- women and human rights. >> thank you madam secretary and thank them mr. chair.
>> the senator got extra time today because it is birthday. >> happy birthday. >> thank you madam secretary for your leadership or a chairman anand is raised in the litany of issues where president erdogan's turkey has violated its obligations as a nato partner violated international law, undermined our interest in the region. we talked about the s400 which you underscore the fact that the sanctions will remain in place so long as that continues and they will not be able to a paid any f35 program. turkey is regularly violating the territorial waters and exclusive economic zones of cypress and greece and there's a real risk that some incident there could spiral out of control as they continue this provocative action. he referenced turkeys maligned actions with respect to armenia. it is true that turkey is
shouldering the burden of millions of refugees from syria and its importantly remember that for years turkey downplayed the isis threat allowed isis fighters to transit through turkey and they continue to attack -- what to do the tip of the spear in our fight against isis. i want to turn now to yesterday's actions in cypress and president erdogan statements regarding deroche a india first to reach a bi- bye camino federation which of course and it might entirely. on barroso as administrations indicated violating u.n. security council's resolution and international law. here's what erdogan said in response to people calling him out on these issues. we will listen to them but we do not care what they say and that has been his attitude on a whole host of issues in the question is whether we going to do in
response? and so my question to you is what are we going to do in concert with their nato and eu partners. chairman hernandez and senator rubio wrote to the president last week anticipating this action taken by erdogan and it's not going to be enough to simply make statements as president erdogan is indicated quote we do not care what they see -- say. my question is what are we going to actually do in partnership? >> thank you senator happy birthday. you cite think as he referenced from secretary blinken and i repeated my opening statements before you came in that we consider the move yesterday it to be inconsistent with the u.n. security council resolution 10789 provocative unacceptable and incompatible.
i spoke to my turkish counterpart this morning and i think there'll be ongoing conversations with the turkish government. before this happened the ambassador and i spoke with key members of the palace and secure. blinken's foreign minister. the issue here is not only does this have a chilling effect on what we suppose might be a reuniting of the u.s. process to try to get to a bye communal -- which left him as a government i will worked along with then vice president biden. also has a negative effect on the ongoing conversation that turkey is having with the eu on what they wanted than what we
had finally gotten insignificant talks about some kind of an economic community and frankly that is the bigger gain. that is a far more value for turkey. snag if i may madam secretary i agree with you but just reading to you president erdogan's words. he doesn't care what we say and what you say or what you said so i think our experience indicates that turkey will respond only when there's a price to be paid for their actions. sometimes that doesn't move the miter but certainly words alone will not and in fact it also turns to the hd issue because as you know this is turkey's third-largest political party. they have locked up a number of their leaders under trump charges and the european court
has looked at these totally trump up charges. i met with one of the parliamentarians visiting the united states last week and has been indicated we are pleased to see the biden administration return to a values-based foreign-policy talking about the rule of law democracy. this obviously violates every single one of those principles to threaten to outlaw political party and beyond that outlaw individual people from participating in a future election under any kind of banned. it will close where it began which soon we look forward to conversation with you and the president about what we can do. i think we have the answer from erdogan as to what his response is going to be. it's going to be up to us to take actions to defend the rule of law into defend democracy and
to make sure turkey doesn't set an example for others with respect to being unfaithful to allies so thank you and thank you mr. chairman. >> senators cruz. >> thank you mr. chairman. it's good to see you. you'll not be surprised on the topic of my questioning. your confirmation hearing you told this committee that he believed the nord stream ii pipeline between russia and germany would have disastrous effects on u.s. national security, that it would have disastrous effects on european security by making them subject to economic and energy blackmail from russia and that it would enrich and empower putin to carry out that. you continue to believe that? >> i do senator.
>> my understanding is the state department recommends that sanctions be imposed on the company that's building the nord stream ii pipeline and on the ceo. the state department did so consistent with the sanctions that congress passed into law that i offered. not one set of sanctions the two sets of sanctions that passed both houses of congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, nearly unanimous support. my understanding is the state department recommended to sanctions be imposed to try to stop the pipeline and the biden white house overrode that recommendation. is that accurate? >> senator i think you'll be surprised that i'm not going to discuss internal administration deliberations. i don't think you are here when i read out some of the actions that we have worked on with the
german government. obviously our intention here and we did mention the company sanction its leadership and we chose to waive those sanctions to see if we could work with germany so it could take responsibility for the pressure that this pipeline puts not only on ukraine and poland and eastern europe but the advantage is that it gives to russia both in security and economic terms. we have later this afternoon released the results of those negotiations, the u.s. german joint statement which includes a number of elements and i have already read about your colleagues. i won't waste the committee's time but i can share with you after this but one point in particular which i think is very important for ukraine and for
our collective response is that germany has committed to take actions that should russia tend to use energy as a weapon to commit further aggressive actions against ukraine germany will take action at the national level and press for effective measures at the european union level including sanctions to limit russia's export capability to europe in the energy sector including gas and other economic factors. we can talk about how we are doing here but our effort right now is to continue to protect ukraine and others. >> yes promises go that promise from angela merkel is on its face incredibly weak and the deal that is going to be announced today at 9:00 p.m. german time so presumably to mitigate the push back from germany is in my view a complete and total capitulation by president biden to putin.
he has given putin everything he wants. he has surrendered on the pipeline. the pipeline that we have stopped, that we have successfully stopped intel joe biden's or did i believe this is the generational geopolitical mistake that decades from now future russian dictators will be reaping billions of dollars of benefits annually from joe biden's mistake and will be using that pipeline to exert economic blackmail on europe decades from now. but they ask a straightforward question. do our ukrainian allies agree that this is a good deal? >> senator with respect and the candor for which we have always dealt with each other i believe that we were in 2016 on our way
to stopping the pipeline. as you and i discussed when the biden administration came into office four years later that pipeline was 90% -- >> ms. nuland understand that talking point that the state department is bemusing with 95% complete in 2019 at least stop it. 95% complete pipeline is 0% complete and we suffer year to remain the hunk of metal at the bottom of the ocean until joe biden got elected. let me ask my question again because my time is expiring. do our ukrainian allies agree this is a good deal and is it correct as as been widely reported that the biden white house has been pressuring ukraine, demanding that they not criticize the deal and
threatening military support and threatening president zielinski directly to cancel a white house meeting with the president unless they bite their tongues and not say what is obvious which is that this is a disastrous deal that advocates putin and hurts ukraine badly? >> that is incorrect senator. none of us has been pressuring ukraine and in fact an invitation to presence olinskey is going to be issue publicly later today. we have been in deep consolations with the ukrainians and every aspect of this arrangement i will leave it to the ukrainians to speak for themselves on how they react to this. do they like all of us wish the pipeline could be stopped and in one of stopped? of course. does this deal give them more than they had yesterday and i believe that it does and i've been in conversations with them myself as is the president's secretary blinken but they will speak about this arrangement.
>> one final question to clarify. is it your testimony ambassador under oath to this committee that nobody in the biden administration has been pressing the ukrainians not to criticize this deal? i find that astonishing testimony. >> that what you you're telling this committee? >> i have nobody in the administration who has told them how to feel or how to speak about this. what we have tried to do is have consultation with them throughout on what their major concerns are. they have security concerns but they also have energy concerns and we have worked hard to try to address the concerns that they have raised with us including in consultations we had before this consultation with began. >> thank you. >> thank you very much.
i just have one or two final questions. we have a flow going on. two years until turkey's next parliamentary elections. the turkish government's attempt to ban the second opposition party wood racket -- what steps are we taking to support democratic elections in turkey and 2024? >> things chairman. we discussed this with senator murphy occupying your large chair there. we have been very concerned and very clear with the turkish government about her concerns with the banning of political parties. i think the support that members of this committee and the congress as a whole have provided to individual members of the htp is very welcome and obviously this party represents
a large body of citizens in turkey and so you know banning the representatives of those voices raises questions about the integrity of elections so we will continue going forward. >> i'm not bound by the diplomatic bit though. there has been an incredible action by erdogan. those elections could not have validity. president biden banned the republican party from. >> at dating. who in this country would believe that it's a fair election? in january the state department affirmed the administration's intent to continue counterterrorism cooperation with the syrian democratic forces which includes the despite erdogan's continuing opposition to the group and our
bilateral discussions with turkey and syria with probe puzzles have the administration put forward to address the fundamental differences around the role? >> senator primarily at this stage we just agree to disagree. we sense that her syrian democratic forces have more than prove their value in the security situation in syria and with regard to the fight against isis. >> we agree to disagree which means we continued to pursue our view in their engagement with the syrian including ytd and then lastly the maritime border agreement italian turkey and the government the direct predecessor of libya's unity government was raised on a
flawed understanding of maritime and ignores the valid claims that turkey's neighbors including greece and the public of cypress. what is the administration's message on this agreement? >> with regard to the specific maritime border with libya i'm going to take that question because i've impersonally looked at the libya situation but as you know we have a lot of work to do together to get to an election and to get to ideally a legitimate government that can then take up its own interests in terms of maritime boundaries etc. so that is something we work on with greece and we will work on with turkey. >> i would just say it's rather obvious that this agreement with an entity that is questionable could be able to engage the government of libya. it's in violation of every international morn and law of
the sea. the essence of exclusive economic zones. it's provocative once again. my problem with the past administration and i hope it's not going to be a problem with this administration is that we continue to have the aspirations of what we wanted for turkey, bridge between east and west with a strong nato ally and a secular government with respect to human rights and the rule of law but under erdogan that's just not the reality. i sometimes get concerned that we don't call out that which is pretty obvious. what is pretty obvious is pretty
obvious and when we fail to recognize it as such i think we do our nation a disservice and we model our message across the globe beyond turkey that we are willing to look the other way because their other interests involved. i can assure you the committee will be pursuing this with bigger as we continue. we appreciate your testimony before the committee. this record will remain open until the close of business tomorrow and we thank you for for this hearing. >> thank you chairman. thank you committee. [inaudible conversations]
robert novak's nickname was the prince of darkness named out by many of his friends and fellow washington-based journalists. in 2007, two years before he died at the age of 78 his autobiography was published about his 50 years as a reporter, television personality, author and conservative political commentator. he appeared on booknotes at that time about his book the prince of darkness.