“The United States must send a strong message to Turkey and hold it accountable otherwise Turkey will continue with its aggressive and provocative acts, which are egregious and are not in American security interests,” President Nick Larigakis said.
Menendez-Van Hollen Letter
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), ranking member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in advance of his meeting with the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias that was held August 14. Citing Turkey’s recent deployment of naval vessels to shadow a drilling ship into Greece’s maritime waters, the Senators called on the Trump Administration to urge Turkey to remove its ships from international waters. The Senators also urged Secretary Pompeo to work with the European Union to impose new sanctions on Turkey, if Turkey continues its increasing aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“AHI commends Senators Menendez and Van Hollen for their timely letter to Secretary Pompeo that calls for sanctions in response to Turkish aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean,” President Larigakis said.
U.S. Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ), longtime member of the Congressional Hellenic Caucus, together with Hellenic Caucus Co-chairs U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) led a congressional sign-on letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, urging them to condemn the consistent acts of aggression taken by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. The letter also urges the Trump Administration to reaffirm the right of strategic allies like Greece and Cyprus to develop their hydrocarbon resources and to reassert American leadership in the region.
“AHI applauds U.S. Representatives Pallone, Bilirakis, and Maloney for spearheading this initiative to generate the support of their colleagues to convey a strong message to Secretaries Pompeo and Esper that they condemn Turkey’s aggression and reaffirm the rights of Greece and Cyprus to develop their hydrocarbon resources, which also serves the interests of the United States in the Eastern Mediterranean,” President Larigakis said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden: Erdogan an “Autocrat”
A video resurfaced of former Vice President Joe Biden speaking to editors of the New York Times in December 2019 where Biden stated he is “very concerned” about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s military cooperation with Russia, his approach to Kurds in Turkey, and about access to U.S. airfields in Turkey, according to a Reuters report.
Biden said, “He has to pay a price,” referring to a new U.S. approach to Erdogan, whom Biden called an “autocrat.”
“We welcome Vice President Biden’s approach to Mr. Erdogan as stated in December 2019, and we urge him to ensure that approach to Turkey is reflected in his policies and in his party’s platform regarding the Eastern Mediterranean now that he has accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States,” President Larigakis said.
U.S. Senator Rubio: Turkey under Erdogan has “Ottoman” Ambitions
In an August 14 interview with Fox News, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) stated that Turkey, under Erdogan, wants “to be sort of the dominant power in the region, sort of some of this Ottoman revisionism.”
Senator Rubio added that it is a “messy situation” in Turkey right now.
“They’ve gotten deeply involved now in Libya,” he said. “They’re in northern Syria, in one way they work with the Russians and in different ways, they are literally taking the Russians and/or their proxies on head on. So, and they’ve got conflicts now with Greece as well.”
President Larigakis stated, “Senator Rubio is spot-on by stating that Turkey has ‘Ottoman’ ambitions, and he is one of the few voices in Congress to openly state this fact, and we welcome the senator’s comments.”