May 18 2018

Turkey’s strategic direction makes Greece a greater ally - US ambassador

The challenge of Turkey’s strategic direction makes Greece a greater ally for the Unites States and Ankara’s continued detention of two Greek soldiers is unacceptable, the U.S. ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, said on Wednesday, Hellas Journal reported

“I think for the United States, thinking about the challenge of Turkey’s strategic direction, we have no greater ally than Greece,” Pyatt said in a speech at the Prometheus Energy Lecture, organised by the University of Piraeus.

“You have intimate familiarity with Turkey, you have great soft power, but you are also impacted every single day by unpredictable behaviours, whether it is ship collisions in the eastern Aegean or the unacceptable continued detention of two Greek soldiers, who should have come home in the spirit of our alliance relationship,” he said.

Turkey’s relations with the United States have become strained over U.S. backing for Syrian Kurdish forces, Washington’s refusal to hand over the Turkish preacher accused of orchestrating the 2016 failed coup, Turkey’s arrest of an American pastor and Ankara’s purchase of Russian air defence missiles and drift towards Moscow.

Relations between Turkey and Greece have also been hurt in recent months after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for the renegotiation of the 1923 treaty demarcating the countries’ borders. Other issues include natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Greece’s refusal to extradite eight Turkish soldiers accused of participating in the coup, the arrest of two Greek soldiers who strayed into Turkey and the historical dispute over Cyprus.