The United States Department of State has sent a stern warning to Turkey over what it called “coercion, threats, intimidation” against Greece.
The statement came after a Turkish research vessel named the Oruc Reis — the same one that entered Greek waters last month and raised the tensions between the two countries — came back into Greek waters on Tuesday.
Greece called Ankara’s decision to send the vessel close to Kastellorizo, a Greek island near the Turkish coast, a “major escalation” and a “direct threat to peace in the region.”
Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of the Chicago-based Hellenic American Leadership Council, welcomed the statement in a Tweet but said that the Trump administration needed to end its appeasement of Turkey and enforce U.S. law.
“The statement and unambiguous identification of Turkey as the aggressor is welcome (and long overdue), but as long as President Donald J. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo keep avoiding their obligations under CAATSA, it is not enough.”
CAATSA refers to the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which requires Turkey to be sanctioned by the United States for buying Russian S400s— a move that neither the U.S. President nor the Secretary of State have initiated.
The full statement from the State Department:
“The United States deplores Turkey’s October 11 announcement of renewed Turkish survey activity in areas over which Greece asserts jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey’s announcement unilaterally raises tensions in the region and deliberately complicates the resumption of crucial exploratory talks between our NATO Allies Greece and Turkey.”
“Coercion, threats, intimidation, and military activity will not resolve tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. We urge Turkey to end this calculated provocation and immediately begin exploratory talks with Greece. Unilateral actions cannot build trust and will not produce enduring solutions.”
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