ANKARA – Turkey is upset that the United States is supporting Greece for allegedly deploying American-supplied armored vehicles on some Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast, not accepting the argument it’s in the US’ national interest.
The US State Department raised that diplomatic umbrella in response to a question in Washington by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, while Turkey has been barred purchase of F-35 fighter jets after buying Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said that, “The standard we use is what is in America’s national interests. And it just so happens that when it comes to our allies and partners, what tends to be in our national interest is in the collective interest as well,” even if it’s not in Turkey’s interest, the news agency reported.
“We’re always taking a close look at the security assistance, including potential weapons systems and supplies that we’re providing to allies and partners around the world,” he said, avoiding a straight answer.
He also said, “We urge all the parties to avoid rhetoric and to avoid actions that could further exacerbate tensions. The sovereignty and the territorial integrity of all countries should be respected,” maintaining the US’ policy of siding with both.
He said the US provides its partners with security aid to confront “shared challenges and shared threats,” and continued: “There’s a constant evaluative process when it comes to looking at the security systems we provide to any country around the world,” again not providing an answer.
An Associated Press reporter asked about the S-400 missiles, asking Price why the US doesn’t want Turkey to buy systems from an ideological enemy of NATO, noting the spokesman said that, “You talk about how it’s up to each country to oversee or determine the deployment of their own defenses.”
“Of course, countries around the world are open to make their own choices. There will be cases, extreme cases, where certain choices will have implications on the part of the United States’ bilateral relationship,” said Price.
That came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan complained that the United States is tilting toward Greece, saying his country is more important to NATO despite buying Russian systems that undermine the alliance’s security and could be used against Greece in a conflict.
He said that the US “cannot find another ally like Türkiye. Our expectation from the US is not to involve Greece in wrong calculations and not to allow the manipulation of international public opinion,” the report added.
Erdogan has demanded that Greece remove troops from Aegean islands, citing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that he doesn’t recognize and has even warned of attacking Greece “suddenly one night.”