May 21 2018

Greek foreign minister visits Washington amid tensions with Turkey

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Monday, at a time the United States increasingly views Greece as a stabilising element in southeastern Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean, journalist Evren Dede wrote in the Turkish-language version of Ahval.

Both the United States and Greece have seen increased tensions in their relationships with Turkey in recent months over a range of issues. U.S. ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said last week that the change in Turkey’s strategic direction made U.S.-Greek ties more important than ever.

During his visit to Washington, Kotzias will meet U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton on Tuesday as well as various congressional groups, including the Congressional Hellenic Caucasus. On Wednesday, he will travel to New York to meet United Nations officials including General Secretary Antonio Guterres to discuss the divided island of Cyprus.

Kotzias’s visit comes shortly before Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is due in the United States, where he will also meet Pompeo.

On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, once again raised the issue of Greek sovereignty over parts of the Aegean.

“The fundamental source of tension between Turkey and Greece is the Greek understanding of the Aegean as an entirely Greek sea, disregarding Turkey’s legal rights and legitimate interests as a coastal state,” Yıldırım said in an interview with a Greek newspaper on Sunday.