WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) on August 20 issued the following statement:
AHI objects to President Donald J. Trump’s characterization of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “world-class chess player” during an interview with Fox and Friends on August 17, 2020 in which President Trump sought to draw a contrast between himself and his likely opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, on the issue of dealing with foreign leaders. During the interview, President Trump added that he gets along with Mr. Erdogan and Erdogan “listens” to him.
“Although we understand President Trump’s remarks were made in the context of the upcoming political campaign against Vice President Biden, they are a prime example of the appeasement of Turkey by the United States that AHI has urged the Administration to avoid because they bear consequences, especially as they relate to Mr. Erdogan, who seeks positive reinforcement from the president of the United States,” President Nick Larigakis said. “The repeated statements by various State Department officials, including its spokesperson, that urge Turkey to halt its operations in Greece’s maritime waters and in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus, and to avoid steps that raise tensions in the region, clearly are not being listened to by Mr. Erdogan."
“Regretfully, remarks such as the president’s only serve to embolden Mr. Erdogan to take aggressive and provocative actions the president’s own Administration states are not acceptable and raise tensions in the region,” Larigakis said. “President Trump’s indication that world leaders have called him to ask his help to deal with Mr. Erdogan signals the severity of the situation Mr. Erdogan is causing in the region. Furthermore, because President Trump implied that Mr. Erdogan listens to him, we reiterate our call for President Trump to utilize his personal relationship with Mr. Erdogan and urge Mr. Erdogan to cease and desist with his illegal and aggressive actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and to deescalate tensions in the region.”
The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center and think tank that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.
More information is available online: http://www.ahiworld.org.