WASHINGTON, DC  The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) issues the following statement on news reports that as many as 20 Turkish naval vessels have encircled Cyprus:

AHI strongly condemns Turkey’s rapid escalation of its presence in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which has coincided with Turkey’s invasion of Northeast Syria where it plans to attack U.S.-allied Kurdish forces.

AHI welcomed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s warning to Turkey that “…illegal drilling is unacceptable…” during his visit earlier this week in Athens. However, the United States has yet to demonstrate its will to punish Turkey for its illegal activity in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone where Turkey threatens United States interests, including U.S. firms; and United States’ strategic partner, and EU member nation, Cyprus. The United States must sanction Turkey for its invasion of Northeast Syria as U.S. senators have called for in a bipartisan outcry. AHI strongly argues Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, which Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades called a “second invasion,” warrants the same bipartisan outcry for targeted sanctions from Capitol Hill legislators.

Furthermore, AHI vehemently disagrees with President Donald Trump’s invitation to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the White House next month. The United States’ appeasement of Turkey’s demands is endless and must stop. Otherwise, Turkey will continue with its aggressive and provocative acts, which are egregious, without fear of repercussion.

Finally, in policy statements, AHI has long-called Turkey an unreliable and disloyal ally, dating back to the Cold War where Turkey aided the Soviet military, including overflight rights and passage rights through the Bosphorous and Dardanelles Straits into the Mediterranean Sea, where the Soviets were a threat at the time to the U.S. Sixth Fleet. It can be argued Turkey is doing Russia’s bidding today in Northeast Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean.