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Athens’ response to Ankara’s threats – A clear message from the US about sovereignty over the islands


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“Greece’s sovereignty over the Aegean islands is not disputed” the State Department representative repeated once again

The response that Athens gave to what was announced by Ankara after the meeting of the Security Council under Tayyip Erdoğan was immediate and strict. At the same time, the State Department also sent a message yesterday that Greece’s sovereignty over the islands is not disputed.

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After the marathon session of the Turkish Security Councilthrough which Ankara interpreted that “he will not hesitate to use any kind of legal method and means for the protection of its national interests”, Athens sent a clear answer: “Turkey has no right to flagrantly violate International Law and threaten Greece with war (casus belli)”.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded in detail: “Turkey has every right to defend its interests by any legal means, under the basic condition that it accepts the rules of International Law.

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However, it has no right to flagrantly violate International Law and threaten Greece with war (casus belli).

Greece does not present any claim against Turkey.

He is in favor of dialogue on the basis of International Law.

It will, however, defend its legitimate interests and rights if the need arises.”

Messages from Washington

Washington also sent its own messages to Ankara: “Greece’s sovereignty over the Aegean islands is not in question”, repeated once again the representative of the State Department, Ned Price.

At the same time, Mr. Price made it clear that the deployment of defense equipment, which includes the movement of military vehicles to the Aegean islands, is a matter for national governments and therefore declared himself incompetent to take a position on the issue.

The representative of the State Department made this statement after a question received from the correspondent of the Turkish news agency Anadolu, who recalled that the government of Turkey has sent an official protest to the US that Greece is deploying American armored vehicles on islands that have ” demilitarized regime”.

Asked if the US government has given any official response to Turkey, Mr. Price replied “look, we will refer you to the governments (of Greece and Turkey) regarding any development of their own defense equipment. This is not something we should talk about.

More generally, and I believe I said this the other day, we continue to encourage our NATO allies – Turkey and Greece in this case – to work together to maintain peace and security in the region and resolve their differences with diplomatic way. We call on all parties to refrain from rhetoric and actions that could further exacerbate tensions. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected. Greece’s sovereignty over these (Aegean) islands is not disputed.”

Then the correspondent of the Turkish Anadolu Agency returned to the same issue in a different way, as he asked whether the use of American equipment on the Greek islands, which is in violation of international treaties in Ankara’s view, is in line with the provisions of the US law on arms exports.

Again, the State Department spokesman kept his distance and did not appear to embrace the indirect connection attempted between the demilitarization of the islands and the Arms Export Control Act.

As Ned Price noted, “we always carefully review the security assistance, including potential weapons systems and supplies, that we provide to allies and partners around the world. We are fortunate to have several close security partners around the world – countries that look to the United States as a supplier of the security they need to address often shared challenges and common threats. Often this comes in the form of terrorist threats and other collective challenges, but there is an ongoing evaluation process when it comes to looking at the security assistance we provide to any country around the world.”

At this point, his journalist intervened in the dialogue Associated Press, who asked why, since Turkey can deploy its military equipment wherever and however it wants, the US does not allow it to deploy and buy the equipment it wants. The report of the American journalist had to do with the acquisition of the Russian S-400 system, while he wondered why there are no consequences for Greece.

For his part, the representative of the State Department was absolutely clear, rejecting any attempt to connect the issue of the S-400 with the deployment of American equipment in the Aegean islands. As he explained, these are two completely different cases, as Greece is not interested in acquiring the specific Russian system.

Regarding Turkey, he recalled that the US had warned in advance that there would be consequences for the acquisition of the S-400. (It’s) about sanctions imposed by Congress. “We have also made it clear that there will be implications for certain options” (…) “I don’t think this ally (including Greece) is interested in buying the system in question (the S-400). “So, these are different cases. Of course, countries around the world are free to make their own choices. There will be cases – extreme cases – where certain choices will have implications on the part of the United States and on our bilateral relationship,” he noted.

The Anadolu correspondent then referred to the amendment that has been tabled for the F-16 fighters in the pending US Defense Budget Bill (NDAA). The specific amendment sets as a basic condition for the upgrade of the F-16s the non-violation of Greek airspace. Given that there is no corresponding provision for Greece, the Turkish journalist wondered if the US has adopted double standards and asked to know what is the criterion for approving such defense exports.

For his part, the State Department spokesman responded that “the criterion we use is what is in America’s national interest, and it just so happens that when it comes to our allies and partners, what tends to be in our national interest is also the collective interest”.


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