WASHINGTON, DC – The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) condemns in the strongest terms Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threats to launch a missile attack against Greece.
On December 11, President Erdogan stated: “Now we have started to make our own missiles… Of course, this production scares the Greeks. When you say ‘Tayfun,’ the Greek gets scared and say, ‘It will hit Athens.’ Well, of course, it will.”
President Erdogan added, “If you don’t stay calm, if you try to buy something [to arm yourself] from here and there, from America to the islands, a country like Turkey will not be a bystander. It has to do something.”
In response, State Department Spokesman Ned Price said: “Well, look, we regret this escalation of provocative statements. It is especially regrettable at a time when unity and cooperation is needed most among our own NATO Allies. We urge all of our allies to avoid threats and provocative rhetoric. All that an escalation of rhetoric will do is to raise tensions and to distract us from the unity of purpose, the unity of purpose that we need to confront any number of challenges, not the least of which, of course, is the threat that the Alliance potentially faces from Russia, and, of course, the ongoing active threat that the people of Ukraine face from Russian aggression.”
AHI President Nick Larigakis said: “We need to call out Turkey for what it is at this point: a rogue state and a pariah. At a time where the conflict in Ukraine is ongoing, we cannot afford to have the destabilization of NATO’s southeastern flank.”
“It is perplexing that the State Department is calling on ‘all sides’ to de-escalate, when there is only one party that is being provocative— Turkey,” Larigakis continued. “Turkey has threatened to launch missiles at a member of NATO and of the EU, Greece. While I understand the importance of behind-the-scenes diplomacy and diplomatic language, we are far past that point with Turkey. The State Department must stop using this tired language of asking ‘all sides’ to de-escalate. Our perspective on this issue does not discount all the great work of the State Department in recent years to significantly elevate U.S.-Greece bilateral relations. However, it is high time for the State Department to recalibrate its approach to Turkey.”
“Therefore, we call on the U.S. State Department and the Administration to explicitly condemn Erdogan’s threatening rhetoric and to call out Turkey as the aggressor,” Larigakis said. “The United States, the European Union, and NATO must call on Turkey to cease and desist or face consequences.”