United States Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said July 8 that Russia appeared to be trying to “flip” Turkey, a key member of the alliance, in a bid to undermine and destabilize NATO.
“I do think Russia is trying to flip Turkey. They are trying to flip many of our allies,” Hutchison said on Fox News Sunday.
“They want to destabilize the strongest defence alliance in the history of the world, and that is NATO,” she added, while also voicing her doubts about Moscow’s possible success on their efforts on Turkey.
“They have been helping us for a long time,” she said. “We know Russia is trying to move into that, but we know that they’re strong,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison’s comments came days before U.S. President Donald Trump is set to travel to Brussels for the annual NATO summit. He is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16.
Turkey’s decision to purchase the sophisticated Russian S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems had strained its ties with NATO.
“It goes without saying that it will be a difficult issue,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had said on Feb. 22.