Pompeo’s visit was decided during a 45-minute telephone conversation between Presidents Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan late Tuesday, according to officials from Erdogan’s office. They briefed a group of journalists Wednesday on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.
The officials said Pompeo would also discuss the issue of U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters, who the Turkish government considers to be terrorists because of their affiliation with outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey.
It was not surprising to see Turkish pro-government newspapers stressing that Ankara had delivered a warning that the U.S. should stop its cooperation with – or at least to limit the involvement of – the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the upcoming Raqqa offensive. But amid the standard coverage of the CIA chief’s first visit to Turkey, it is worth noting that some columnists were sticking to their conspiracy-minded rhetoric ongoing since the July 2016 coup attempt, openly putting the CIA at the center of alleged support for the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
As expected, new CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s recent visit has made the headlines of the Turkish press. Pompeo is not only the head of world’s most famous spy agency, but he is also a perfect example of U.S. President Donald Trump’s favorite kind of operator.
The extradition of Gülen was possibly one of the discussion topics between Pompeo and his Turkish counterparts. In this context, one lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was quoted in the pro-government press as saying that Washington would never extradite Gülen but kill him and make it look like a suicide.