ATHENS – Retired career diplomat Petros G. Molyviatis, in an open letter to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, accused him of backing Turkish belligerence against Greece and misunderstanding his role.
Molyviatis, who was an an advisor to Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis, a Member of Parliament and Foreign Minister, said Stoltenberg’s apparent attempt to support both Greece and Turkey had failed, saying it was Turkey’s provocations that were the problem.
“You have been making statements about the crisis in Greek-Turkish relations. These statements appear to keep an equal distance between the two countries. In reality, however, they are formally unacceptable, essentially favoring the aggressor to the detriment of the victim, and are ultimately detrimental to the Alliance,” wrote Molyviatis, said Kathimerini.
Turkey has repeatedly violated Greek airspace and waters, demanded Greece take troops off Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast, said it would again send an energy research vessel and warship off Greek islands and said it would be a cause for war if Greece doubles its maritime boundaries to 12 miles.
Turkey has also bought Russian-made S-400 missile systems that undermine the security of NATO, to which Greece and Turkey belong, and which could also be used against Greece if there’s a conflict, worry rising there will be.
For all that, Stoltenberg – who as Prime Minister of Norway drew vicious criticism over a slow response to a gunman killing students on an island – praised Turkey as a “valuable ally.”
He also said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had reason to say that Sweden and Finland – members of the European Union – were terrorist havens and shouldn’t be allowed to join NATO.
Molyviatis said that Stoltenberg should not formulate policy nor express positions without the consent of NATO’s 30 governments – which include Turkey, the defense chief later backpedaling to also praise Greece.
The former diplomat noted that Turkey is claiming Greek territories, including islets, Erdogan citing a Blue Homeland doctrine that covets return of islands ceded to Greece under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne the Turkish leader doesn’t recognize nor accept.
“When you, Mr. Secretary-General, call on Greece to engage in dialogue with Turkey to resolve their differences, you are essentially asking Greece to make its territorial integrity the subject of negotiations with Turkey. And you ask this while representing an Alliance that was set up and still exists for this very reason, namely the protection of the territorial integrity of its members.
This is not equidistancing. This is encouraging the aggressor against the victim.” There was no report whether Stoltenberg read the letter or cared.