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Politics

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Says No Favoritism Toward Greece

ANKARA – Sticking to the party line of so-called ‘both-siderism’ so as not to offend anyone, United States Ambassador to Turkey Jeff Flake rejected Turkish criticism that Greece is being favored in disputes.

“I have been asked recently if there has been a shift in the U.S. security posture in the Aegean. The answer is no,” Flake said, reported Al-Monitor as he stuck to the U.S. policy of trying to maintain a delicate balance with Greece and Turkey.

Turkey has complained that the United States is taking sides with Greece in differences over rights to the seas and is also irked with the lifting of an arms embargo on Cyprus, where Turkey seized the northern third in 1974 invasions.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has openly threatened an invasion because he’s peeved about Greece building alliances against provocations that include Turkey sending F-16 fighter jets into Greek airspace.

Flake said that the United States supports both Greece and Turkey even though Turkey bought S-400 Russian missile defense systems that undermine NATO, the defense alliance in which Turkey, Greece and the United States are members.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticized what he said was the United States’ departure from its “traditional balanced policy” in the territorial conflicts between Turkey and Greece.

But Flake said that the security cooperation with Turkey and Greece “does not come from a position of partiality or imbalance towards any single partner,” the news site reported.

The United States renewed a military cooperation agreement with Greece that has brought a greater American military presence, particularly at the northern port of Alexandroupoli near the Turkish border, further irking Erdogan.

But those moves are “focused on putting an end to Russia’s brutal and unprovoked war in Ukraine,” Flake said.

“Our defense cooperation with Greece strengthens NATO’s eastern flank in support of Ukraine and of our NATO Allies in Central and Eastern Europe,” he added about the stance.

“Our overriding objective, shared with our NATO Allies Turkey and Greece, is peace, security, and stability throughout the region,” he said, using carefully crafted diplomatic language to avoid saying anything provocative.

Turkey in September filed diplomatic protests with the United States and Greece over Greece sending U.S.-made armored military vehicles to two Aegean islands less than five nautical miles from Turkey’s coast.

Erdogan has demanded that Greece remove troops from the islands, citing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that he doesn’t recognize, and said it would be a cause for war if Greece doubles its maritime boundaries to 12 miles.

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