New CIA Director, former Representative Mike Pompeo, thinks the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is a “totalitarian Islamist dictatorship” and only “as democratic as Iran.”
As the military coup started falling apart in Turkey on July 15, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, commended Turkish people for defending their democracy and confronting the military.
“Turkish people’s brave defense of democracy & their elected government proves that coups have no place in our region and are doomed to fail,” Zarif tweeted earlier on July 16.
Two hours later, Pompeo quoted Zarif’s tweet and wrote:
“.@JZarif & #Iran govt about as democratic as that of @RT_Erdogan — both are totalitarian Islamist dictatorships.”
Pompeo, former army officer and a Harvard graduate, was tapped by President Donald Trump in November last year to run the CIA. Kansas congressman is mostly known for his lengthy grilling of Hillary R. Clinton, Trump’s former rival, during her testimony as part of an investigation into Benghazi killings.
Pompeo was also a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
After the nomination, Pompeo deleted his tweet.
It is not clear how the CIA with Pompeo at the helm might improve the deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and Turkey. Erdogan repeatedly hailed the victory of Trump, who said after the coup that the U.S. should not lecture Turkey about its human rights violations. Erdogan also denounced anti-Trump protests as “disrespectful.”
Mike Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor, also initially backed the coup attempt on July 15, but then wrote a propaganda piece on the Election Day. Daily Caller later revealed that Flynn is paid by a Dutch company founded by a businessman close to Erdogan.