WASHINGTON, DC – Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland stated on May 6, that Turkish overflights are “provocative” and not supported by the United States. Her statement comes soon after her controversial and widely covered comments made during her April 2022 visit to Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus over which AHI conveyed deep concern in a detailed statement.
“AHI applauds Under Secretary Nuland in calling out Turkish overflights as provocative,” President Nick Larigakis said. “However, we view this as just a first step, and we hope her assessment of Turkish overflights will translate to substantive State Department policy. We urge Under Secretary Nuland to take the lead to urge the State Department to issue an updated and non-evasive report to Congress on Turkish violations of Greek airspace as required by law, one that accurately reflects her correct perspective that they are ‘provocative.’”
“In addition, Turkey violates the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) each time it orders U.S.-supplied F-16s into Greek airspace because the condition under which Turkey received the F-16s is that they be used only for ‘legitimate self-defense.’ As such, I would urge Under Secretary Nuland to formally review Turkey’s potential violations of the AECA, which can trigger sanctions and suspension of arms sales, and postpone discussions with Turkey on the sale of F-16’s during this time.”
Larigakis added, “We view this as critically important, especially as there is a growing chorus in Washington policy circles for a reevaluation of U.S.-Turkey relations and as Turkey continues to demonstrate it is an unreliable partner.”
The Eastern Mediterranean and Security Partnership Act of 2019 (the Act) requires that the Secretary of State report to key congressional committees as to violations of Greek airspace. The Secretary must list incidents since January 1, 2017, which the secretary determines “to be violations of the airspace of the sovereign territory of Greece by its neighbors.”
The State Department did not provide the list. Instead, the State Department, in a brief statement submitted to congress in 2020, relayed that the Department was unable to report the incidents of violations of airspace over Greek territorial sea because (1) Greece and the United States “do not share a view on the extent of Greece’s territorial space,” and (2) there is no clarity as to the extent of Greek airspace because the airspaces of Greece and its “neighbors” overlap, and they have not agreed to a “boundary limitation.”