ATHENS – As Turkey keeps up bellicose talk and plans to drill for energy off Crete, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece won’t be cowed and will do whatever it takes to defend itself if there’s a conflict.
He said his visit to the United States, where he met President Donald Trump at the White House on Jan. 7, demonstrated Greece’s willingness to fight if needed, with worries rising there could be a clash if Turkey perists.
Speaking to the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, he said that, “Greece will defend its sovereign rights by any appropriate means. We also explained we are not seeking tension in the East Mediterranean, and we seek to resolve differences with Turkey in a peaceful way, that’s why we keep communication channels open, in an effort to deflate tension,” said Kathimerini.
He pointed to the recently signed Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act (EastMed Act), approved by the Congress last year, that defines who the US allies are in the Eastern Mediterranean.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the US “supports and guarantees the security and prosperity of the country and support initiatives leading to the resolution of EastMed issues in a peaceful manner,” he said.
But Trump, who said he considers Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a friend and a “hell of a leader” – Turkey has jailed more journalists than any country and Erdogan and Trump share a hatred for the media – wouldn’t commit to trying to intervene with Turkey.