Mitsotakis Says Pompeo Visit Boosted Greece Over Turkey

Αssociated Press

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pose during their visit at the Naval Support Activity base at Souda, on the Greek island of Crete, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. (Aris Messinis/Pool viaAP)

ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hailed a visit from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as giving Greece an added advantage against Turkish provocations as strengthening the New Democracy leader's hand.

Mitsotakis said Pompeo's support gave Greece a stronger position in an Oct. 1-2 meeting with Turkish officials although planned talks to defuse tension made it unlikely the bloc's leaders would take up his demand for sanctions for now.

“This is where Turkey’s behavior will be thoroughly examined and I hope that the message to Ankara will be perfectly clear: Unilateral actions cause side-effects, aggressive moves generate a response in kind,” Mitsotakis said.

“Provocations must stop so that talks can begin,” he said, reported Kathimerini as Pompeo repeated the US' boilerplate slogan that Greece is a “pillar of stability” in the region.

Mitsotakis said that was “very important on a diplomatic level,” ahead of talks in Ankara over a dispute around boundaries in the East Mediterranean and Aegean where Turkey plans to drill for energy around Greek islands.

“Let’s not forget that Pompeo also visited Cyprus a few days ago. I believe it has become very clear that the US has vital interests in the Eastern Meditarranean that it is not willing to give up,” said Mitsotakis.

That was in reference to the US throwing its weight behind Cyprus' legitimate government, a member of the EU that Turkey has been trying to join since 2005, but drilling in Cypriot waters in defiance of soft sanctions from the bloc.

Mitsotakis also noted Pompeo's announcement the US naval base at Souda Bay on Crete would become the home for US expeditionary sea base, the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, which he said “speaks volumes” about the future of Greece-US defense cooperation.