NEW YORK – Speaking to The National Herald, Greek-American Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis expressed her belief that her colleagues in Congress must be made aware of the double-game Turkey is playing in geopolitics and about its provocative actions in the East Mediterranean.
In particular, Malliotakis, who was re-elected in New York’s 11th District after a landslide victory over former Congressman – and her second-time opponent – Max Rose, said she is proud that she will be on the floor of the House of Representatives for another two years. She emphasized also that, “I am very proud to be one of the few Greek-Americans serving in Congress. We want to improve the lives of Greek-Americans here who are concerned about inflation, the energy crisis, shielding our borders, and restoring security.”
As is well known, Nicole Malliotakis, along with another Greek-American Republican Congressman, Gus Bilirakis, spearheaded the effort to get as many positive votes as possible from their party for the restrictive amendment regarding Turkish F-16s, which was passed by the House last summer. A few months later, and with the final inclusion of the amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) pending, Malliotakis stresses that her main concern is to get other more members of Congress to grasp what Turkey has been up to.
“I think we need to keep talking to our colleagues in Congress. Turkey is playing a dual role: It acts as an adversary even though it is a NATO ally. Some may see it as a country that we need to work with, but I believe that we should use our power as a NATO member to ensure that one member does not harass the other,” she said regarding Ankara’s threats and provocations against Greece. On the double game Ankara is playing, she cited as an example the famous photo of Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Vladimir Putin and Iran’s leader, Raisi.
“One of the issues I brought to the attention of my colleagues, shortly after the vote on the amendment, was the photo of Erdogan meeting Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Raisi, raising their hands in the air. That was a shocking moment and perhaps my colleagues understood that Erdogan is with them. We have to act accordingly, and I think selling [Turkey] the F-16s would be the wrong move at this time,” she said.
At the same time, Malliotakis clarified that the activity of promoting Greek national issues in Congress is a bipartisan affair, and she expressed concern about President Biden’s insistence on leaving an open window for Turkey to upgrade its F-16s, despite the clear opposition of Congress.
‘Gianaris tried to neutralize me”
Regarding her strong electoral victory, in a district that was initially labelled by analysts as a contested one, Malliotakis said that the main reason for her re-election was the fact that she was close to the voters and listened to the issues of concern to them.
“It’s important to listen to what your constituents are saying. I keep my ears open and I’m present in the community. I talk to constituents about their concerns. The economy, inflation, the energy crisis, and crime were the main ones. That’s where my campaign has been focused because I’m aligned with my constituents when it comes to talking about these very important issues,” she said, adding that New Yorkers are “tired of one-party authority,” attacking the Greek-American New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris for last April’s redistricting attempt, which had initially reduced the conservative electorate in her district in order to ‘neutralize’ it.
“Michael Gianaris and his colleagues in the New York State Senate tried to neutralize me through their partisan gerrymandering of my district to make my opponent’s job easier and to win the district back for Democrats. But we went to court, fought it out, and won the lawsuit, which enabled the Special Master to do the redistricting,” she said. “Although Gianaris wanted to take away four seats,” from the Republicans, “we nevertheless won additional seats and made it to 11” Republican members of Congress in New York.
She Avoided Endorsing Trump
As Malliotakis had recently done in an interview with CBS, she refrained from endorsing ex-President Donald Trump’s candidacy for the Republican nomination, diplomatically arguing that the Party’s main concern should be a return to the White House, whoever that Republican may be.
“I think it’s premature to make any endorsements. I’m not going to make a statement of support today. The fact is that everybody can see that we can’t have four more years with Joe Biden. It was a disaster with every crisis we saw, the energy crisis, the border crisis, the inflation crisis, it all happened on his watch,” concluded Nicole Malliotakis, who added at the time of the interview: “for now, we have to see the results of the midterm elections.”