US rejects Turkish criticism of Mediterranean imbalance

In response to Turkey’s criticism of the US’ “unbalanced” approach to its territorial disputes with Greece and Cyprus, Washington highlighted its efforts to counter the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Washington’s security cooperation with Turkey and Greece “does not come from a position of bias or imbalance toward any one partner,” US Ambassador to Turkey Jeff Flake said in a statement. statement posted on the Embassy’s Twitter account.

The ambassador’s statement followed criticism by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu of Washington’s abandonment of its “traditional balanced policy” in the territorial disputes between Turkey and Greece.

“I was recently asked if there has been a change in the American security posture in the Aegean Sea. The answer is no,” Flake added.

In recent months, the reinforcement of the American army on Greek territory as well as Washington’s decision to completely lift arms embargoes against ethnically divided Cyprus have drawn the ire of Ankara.

But the measures are “focused on ending Russia‘s brutal, unprovoked war in Ukraine,” Flake said.

“Our defense cooperation with Greece strengthens NATO‘s eastern flank to support Ukraine and our NATO allies in Central and Eastern Europe,” he added. “Our overarching goal, shared with our NATO allies, Turkey and Greece, is peace, security and stability. throughout the region. »

In late September, Ankara filed diplomatic protests against Washington and Athens over Greek military deployment, including US-made armored military vehicles, on two Aegean islands, both within 5 nautical miles of Turkey‘s coast.

Ankara described the move as a violation of the islands’ non-military status under several international agreements, including one of the founding treaties of the Turkish Republic. The Turkish Foreign Ministry has asked Washington to prevent the use of US-made military equipment in these violations.

Tensions between Athens and Ankara escalated last month when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened that the Turkish military ‘could suddenly come one night’ due to increased military buildup on the Greek islands. . He repeated his threat last week in Prague at a European conference which also reportedly saw a heated exchange between him and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The New York Times reported that Erdogan interrupted the Greek Prime Minister’s speech, accusing him of insincerity in resolving the Aegean conflict and criticizing the European Union for siding with Greece and Cyprus before storm the dining room. Erdogan denied it and argued that Mitsotakis’ speech was a breach of protocol.

The tensions even spilled over to football during a match between Turkish club Fenerbahçe and Greek Cypriot club AEK Larnaca on October 13. Turkish Republic. AEK fans, in turn, waved a banner, “Peace at home, peace in the world!” How ironic, never forget”, in reference to Turkey’s military intervention in 1974. Cyprus remains ethnically divided between Turkish and Greek Cypriots since Turkey’s military intervention in response to a Greek military coup .

The explosion of a mine in Turkey last Friday, which killed 41 people, offered an unexpected exit, with the Greek Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs offering their condolences. But Turkey’s foreign minister, who took time to thank most of his counterparts’ wishes, failed to respond to his Greek counterpart amid mutual recriminations from Ankara and Athens over nearly 100 migrants who were rescued along the Turkish-Greek border. The Turkish Minister of Defense, meanwhile, thanked his Greek counterpart for his message of condolences.

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