US says it is not taking sides between Greece and Türkiye

US says it is not taking sides between Greece and Türkiye

US says it is not taking sides between Greece and Türkiye

The United States has not changed its security posture in the Aegean Sea, the American envoy to Türkiye has said, amid Ankara’s growing criticism that Washington has broken the decades-old Turkish-Greek balance by arming the latter.

“I have been asked recently if there is a shift in U.S. security posture in the Aegean. The answer is no. Our security cooperation with our NATO allies Türkiye and Greece does not come from a position of partiality or imbalance towards any single partner,” Ambassador Jeff Flake said on Twitter on Oct. 18.

Flake’s statement came at a moment when Türkiye has been louder against the increasing nature of American-Greek military cooperation, including the deployment of armored military vehicles and other equipment to the Greek islands with demilitarized status. Türkiye has long been urging the U.S. not to break the balance in the Aegean and stop turning Greece into a major military hub through the establishment of new military bases.

Ambassador Flake underlined that the collective efforts should focus on ending the war staged by Russia against Ukraine, saying “Our defense cooperation with Greece strengthens NATO’s eastern flank in support of Ukraine and of our NATO allies in Central and Eastern Europe. Our overriding objective, shared with our NATO allies Türkiye and Greece, is peace, security and stability throughout the region.”

Kalın discuss ties with Sullivan

Ambassador Flake’s statement followed a phone conversation between İbrahim Kalın, chief foreign policy advisor of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

According to a statement by the Turkish Presidency, the call addressed the bilateral political and economic relations, the cooperation in defense industry and energy, the war in Ukraine, and other regional matters as well as the Aegean and the Mediterranean.

“It was underscored that Türkiye would by no means hesitate to defend its legitimate rights and interests in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, and it was noted that Greece should put an end to its provocative rhetoric and acts that disregard international law,” read the statement.

Kalın also voiced Türkiye’s expectation about the unconditional completion of the process for the approval by the U.S. Congress of the F-16 procurement and modernization request as he expressed Ankara’s pleasure over the U.S. Administration’s support throughout this process.

According to the statement, the concern over the intensification and deepening of the war in Ukraine was conveyed, and it was noted that all kinds of diplomatic efforts exerted to reduce the destruction this war had caused in global peace and stability, economy, energy and food security were of importance.

It was stressed that during this process, Türkiye would determinedly continue its moves, including the extension of the duration of the Istanbul agreement on grain shipment, for a diplomatic resolution.

Greece shouldn’t rely on its allies: Kalın

In the meantime, Kalın, in a televised interview on Oct. 18, urged Greece not to put too much trust in the countries that support it today. “We told them ‘These power alliances that seem to stand behind you now will not be there tomorrow. You may stay all alone.’ Greece has no capacity to build power on its own,” Kalın said.

Türkiye and Greece are allies in NATO and share the same geography, the chief advisor stressed, “We face common challenges. We don’t need to fight.” The fact that the Greek islands should be kept demilitarized is a binding commitment under the Lausanne and Paris treaties, Kalın recalled, “Any sort of action will have a consequence. We openly tell it to the Greek side.”

Greece cannot corner Türkiye by accusing it of escalating the tension, he said, advising that he already told Sullivan that Greece is deploying the weapons given by the U.S. to the islands with demilitarized status. “He said they will take an action on this,” Kalın said.

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