U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Turkey’s growing reliance on Huawei and other Chinese companies could complicate Washington's military cooperation Ankara.
“They make it more difficult,” the Secretary of State told the Washington Examiner. “The fact that you have a significant amount of data in Turkey now, in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, means that we have to be ever more careful.”
Huawei has emerged as a telecoms heavyweight in Turkey in recent years.
Washington says Huawei is a vehicle for Chinese state espionage and from Sept. 15 imposed new curbs barring U.S. companies from supplying or servicing the company. Huawei has repeatedly denied being a national security risk.
“We have to make sure that our networks are secure — that is, our defense networks, our security networks,” Pompeo said. “It’s not only military and security networks that will be impacted by increasing activity inside of Turkey or any other country from Chinese networks. We're gonna make sure and protect American data.”
Pompeo said that China is trying “to create hegemony through using these state-owned enterprises” to gain assets in foreign countries. “And the people in those countries will be worse off as a result … That applies not only to Southeast Asia and to Turkey, but it's true here in the United States as well.”
Earlier this year, Turkish telecoms firm Turkcell signed a deal with Huawei to use its mobile app infrastructure, becoming the first provider outside China to use the system.