ATHENS – Stepped-up Turkish provocations and claiming Greek waters has led Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to meet with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt after getting American support for Greek sovereignty.
The talks were held at the Foreign Ministry, said Kathimerini, and were said to have focused on strategic cooperation in the wake of the two countries last year renewing a military alliance agreement and US hopes to add more bases.
Pyatt affirmed that Greece’s sovereignty over its islands “is not in question” during a meeting with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias at the Greek foreign ministry on Monday to discuss recent developments in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Grateful to update [with FM Nikos Dendias] and underscore our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. As we discussed our shared goals for regional stability, I affirmed what Washington has made clear: the sovereignty of Greece over its islands is not in question,” Pyatt tweeted after the meeting.
They came after the US said it backed Greece against Turkey’s challenges to Greek seas and islands and demanding Greek remove troops from islands close to Turkey’s coast, citing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne Turkey doesn’t recognize.
“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected and protected. The sovereignty of Greece over these islands is not in question,” said a US State Department spokesman.
Turkey also had cited the 1947 Treaty of Paris to claim that Greece’s sovereignty of the islands ceded away in the Lausanne Treaty were conditional on Greek not militarizing them, the paper added.
Greek has repeatedly rejected those assertions and said the troops won’t be removed as long as there are Turkish threats, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly coveting return of some islands to Turkey.
He also said he will again send an energy research vessel and warships off Greek islands, including Crete, to hunt for oil and gas with the European Union reluctant to confront him at any point.