Pompeo Tours Istanbul Mosque, Meets Nuncio on Tour to Promote Religious Freedom

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife visiting Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul on Tuesday. Credit: Mike Pompeo/ Twitter

As part of his whirlwind tour aimed toward promoting religious freedom around the world, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the papal nuncio to Turkey and toured an Istanbul mosque after meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Tuesday.

Later on during the trip, the Secretary of State will also tour Israeli settlements on the West Bank, in a first for any American diplomat, who heretofore have avoided such areas.

The Secretary was accompanied by his wife, Susan, who wore a facemask at all times in public and donned a headscarf during their tour of the Rustem Pasha mosque. The stunning building, which was designed by the architect Sinan, is renowned for its intricate blue and white mosaic tilework.

Pompeo also met with papal nuncio, or ambassador, to Turkey, Archbishop Paul Russell while on his visit to Istanbul.

Senior State Department sources continued to maintain to the press that the fact that the Secretary dod not meet with Turkish government officials was due to a “scheduling problem” during his brief visit to Istanbul and that the Turkish authorities had been bale to travel there from Ankara during that period of time.

However, Pompeo and the Turkish Foreign Minister will still meet in the near future, as a meeting has been scheduled for all the NATO foreign ministers in early December.

After traveling to Georgia, Pompeo will be heading to the West Bank, where he will pay an official visit — the first ever by an American Secretary of State– to Israeli settlements in the embattled area near the Jordanian border.

The Secretary will also meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, during which time they will discuss the Abraham Accords and the two nations’ joint efforts to address what the State Department calls Iran’s “malign activities.”