Trump favours Erdoğan over Greece’s Mitsotakis - columnist

President Donald Trump passed up on the opportunity to hold a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis when the pair met in Washington this week, and this shows that the U.S. leader favours Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, columnist Notis Papadopoulos wrote for the Greek daily Kathimerini,

Greece and Turkey are at loggerheads over a range of issues, but tensions have risen to a peak since Ankara and the Libyan government signed a maritime deal in November that ignores Greek claims to areas off the coasts of its islands.

Mitsotakis visited Washington hoping to gain a show of support from Trump as part of a diplomatic drive to turn the tables on Turkey.

But Trump has spoken of his admiration of Erdoğan, whom he has protected despite Turkey following a foreign policy that has seen it buy Russian weapons and attack the Kurdish forces who partnered the United States in Syria, Papadopoulos said.

Turkey’s importance to the United States has likely grown even greater since Trump greenlighted a strike that killed a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, on Jan. 3, the writer said. Turkey is the closest NATO member to Iran, and İncirlik airbase in the south of the country is an important facility for U.S. troops.

Therefore, even if Trump and Mitsotakis held a successful meeting this week, Greece’s concern about Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean will take second place to the U.S. president’s relationship with Erdoğan, Papadopoulos said.