US reaffirms Greece’s security in the face of Turkish militancy

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On Monday Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with his Greek counterpart Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos to discuss the recent sale of F-35 fighter jets and joint US-Greek cooperation in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean.

Tensions between the two NATO countries have risen in recent months as Turkey issued a series of threats against Greece.

Victoria Coates, former Deputy National Security Adviser for the Middle East and North Africa, said of the meeting: “Greece is an important partner in the eastern Mediterranean that has played a fundamental role in forging energy and security coordination in the region. hostile stance, we need more cooperation with Greece, not less.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (second from left) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before the signing of a memorandum agreeing to Turkey's membership of Finland and Sweden in the defense alliance in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (second from left) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before the signing of a memorandum agreeing to Turkey’s membership of Finland and Sweden in the defense alliance in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
(AP Photo/Bernat Armange)

TURKISH ISLAMI LEADER IS USING NATO TO GET FREE HANDS AND PUNISH US ALLIES

According to the Associated Press Greece and Turkey have a strained relationship over a variety of issues, including competing claims to maritime boundaries that affect exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions escalated in 2020 over exploratory drilling rights in areas of the Mediterranean where Greece and Cyprus claim their exclusive economic zone, leading to a naval standoff.

Turkey also claims that Greece is violating international agreements by militarizing islands in the Aegean. Athens says it needs to defend the islands, many of which are off the coast of Turkey, from a possible attack using a large fleet of Turkish military landing craft.

During a major military exercise last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was reported to have said: “Once again we urge Greece to stop equipping the islands under civilian status and act in accordance with international agreements. I’m not kidding, I’m serious. This nation is determined, if it says something, it will follow.”

Pope Francis is greeted by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias as he arrives at Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens, Greece, Saturday, December 12.  4, 2021.

Pope Francis is greeted by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias as he arrives at Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens, Greece, Saturday, December 12. 4, 2021.
(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

In May, Erdogan said he would cut off communication with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis after he accused him of convincing Washington not to. sell F-16 fighters to the Turks while traveling in the USA

During a press conference Monday, Secretary of State Austin said, “The defense relationship between the United States and Greece has never been stronger. We especially thank Greece for hosting the US Naval Support Operation in Souda Bay, which is the cornerstone of our defense relationship.”

His Greek counterpart said Greece “reaffirmed the importance of a strong, deep and ever-growing strategic defense partnership between the United States and Greece” and highlighted “two updates to the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement in 2019.”

It is noteworthy that Minister Panagiotopoulos referred to the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the Greek military: “A new milestone in this strategic partnership is, without a doubt, the acquisition of a modern F-35 fighter, an important step for our deterrence and even closer cooperation, coordination and interoperability between armed Greek and US forces.

F35 aircraft in the air.  Minister Panagiotopoulos mentioned the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the Greek military. "A new milestone in this strategic partnership is without a doubt the acquisition of the modern F-35.  Fighter, an important step for our deterrence and even closer cooperation, coordination and interoperability between the armed forces of Greece and the United States.".

F35 aircraft in the air. Minister Panagiotopoulos mentioned the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the Greek military. “A new milestone in this strategic partnership is, without a doubt, the acquisition of a modern F-35 fighter. This is an important step for our deterrence and even closer cooperation, coordination and interoperability between the armed forces of Greece and the United States.” .
(U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ali Stewart)

ERDOGAN DESTROYS NATO DIVISION UNDER PUTIN’S THREAT TO EUROPEAN SECURITY

Sale of American fighters to Turkey has been a contentious issue in recent years as Erdogan sends Turkish forces to the war in Syria at the cost of belligerence towards allies and US interests. Erdogan has threatened to block Sweden and Finland from joining NATO, has carried out limited interventions and raids in northern Iraq, which is why the US House of Representatives recently added new obstacles to Biden’s plan to sell Turkey an F-16 fighter jet.

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Turkey faced harsh criticism from the Trump administration and lawmakers when it acquired Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, leading to US sanctions in 2020. At the time, US officials sounded the alarm that a S-400 deal with Russia could endanger NATO. security and jeopardize intelligence sharing between the US and Turkey.

“The Greek Defense Minister is likely to expect assurances from the US government that it will not sell F-16s to Turkey without stronger assurances from Turkey, including that Turkish aircraft will no longer violate airspace. ”, said Sinan Siddi. Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, specializing in Turkish domestic and foreign policy. “Without this, Greece is likely to try put pressure on the Biden administration not support the sale of F-16s to Turkey.”

Associated Press contributed to this article.