« A map presented by Turkey’s junior coalition partner Devlet Bahcelli showing a large number of the Greek islands as Turkish has drawn a strong response from Athens’ partners and allies, with a State Department spokesman insisting that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Greece is not in question” reports Kathimerini.
“Our position on this issue is clear,” the spokesperson said, in response to a question from Greek media. “We continue to encourage our NATO allies, Greece and Turkey, to work together to maintain peace and security in the region and to resolve disputes in a diplomatic manner. We urge our allies to avoid rhetoric and actions that could further escalate tensions.”
At the same time, the head of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, told Politico he’s not going to drop his opposition to selling F-16s to Turkey.
Meanwhile, Germany’s ambassador in Athens, Ernst Reichel, tweeted that “any challenge to Greece’s territorial integrity and sovereignty is unacceptable.”
“Germany’s position is clear,” he wrote.
Against this backdrop of growing escalation emanating from Ankara, there is movement on both sides of the Atlantic with the aim of forming coalitions with partners and allies to bolster Greece’s positions.
This mobility was evident in the US on Tuesday when the Greek and Jewish lobbies jointly intervened before the House of Representatives to endorse Chris Pappas’ amendment, which seeks to put the brakes on the sale of new fighter jets to Turkey and the upgrading of its existing F-16s.
The development on Tuesday confirms the ongoing collaboration between the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), which has manifested itself on a number of occasions recently, particularly in advancing defense-related topics. The agreement to jointly address American lawmakers multiplies the influence applied. The letter makes reference to Turkish airspace breaches, armed fighter overflights over Aegean islands, as well as Turkish armed forces training activities, frequently involving live fire, in Greek territorial waters and near inhabited islands.
Meanwhile, the head of Greece’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Konstantinos Floros, is in the US for a series of contacts and met at the Pentagon with the US Army chief of staff, James McConville.
Kathimerini, July 13, 2022, Photo: yiannisscheidt / Shutterstock