Joe Biden- former vice president of the United States, now the Democratic presidential nominee- reiterated his long-standing commitment to Greece and Greek-Americans.
In an announcement titled 'Joe Biden’s vision for Greek Americans and US-Greece Relations', Biden said if elected, he would strengthen ties with Greece and "will call out Turkish behaviour that is in violation of international law or that contravenes its commitments as a NATO ally, such as Turkish violations of Greek airspace."
"Throughout his many years in public life, Joe Biden has a long record of engagement on issues important to Greek-Americans and a record of support for strengthening the U.S.-Greece relationship. He has worked personally with Greek leaders over many decades to strengthen the alliance. As President, Joe Biden will be committed to a strong dialogue with both Greek-American leaders and the leadership of Greece to sustain the bond between our countries," the statement said.
It is recalled last week Biden called on Turkey to reverse the decision on Hagia Sophia, and stated that the US (more specifically the Trump administration) must press Turkey to refrain from any further provocative actions in the region against Greece.
Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis thanked Biden for his comments: "It is very important that just yesterday the former Vice President of the United States and presidential candidate, Joe Biden, joined his voice with the global wave of protests for its transformation into a mosque. He called on Turkey, in an explicit manner, to restore its character as a monument to all humanity.”
“Greece and America share common values, common goals, a common philosophical tradition going back to the great scholars of ancient Greece.” Vice President Joe Biden, Greek Independence Day, March 25, 2009.
According to the announcement this is what Joe Biden has done:
- As Vice President, Joe Biden took the lead in urging that the U.S. government support Greece during its financial crisis, working closely with European leaders and the International Monetary Fund to ensure that Greece got a fair deal.
- Joe has long opposed the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and supported a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality. In 2014, he visited the island, the first sitting Vice President to do so in more than 50 years, and led White House diplomatic engagement on the Cyprus question.
- Joe recently called on the Trump Administration to press Turkey to refrain from further provocative actions in the region against Greece, including threats of force.
- Joe has long been a strong supporter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and given unwavering support for the ability of the Patriarchate to function in its role as the center of the Greek Orthodox Church. He treasures his visit in 2011 to the Patriarchate and each of his meetings with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He has called on Turkey to permit the reopening of the Halki Seminary and criticized the recent decision of the Turkish government to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
- Joe Biden has always been a friend of the Greek-American community, in Delaware and around the country. He is grateful for the longstanding support of the community.
- Biden was humbled to receive the Oxi Day Foundation’s highest honor in 2016, and the Athenagoras Human Rights Award in 2015.
What Joe Biden will do:
- Joe Biden will work with our close ally Greece to advance stability in the eastern Mediterrean.
- Unlike President Trump, Joe will call out Turkish behavior that is in violation of international law or that contravenes its commitments as a NATO ally, such as Turkish violations of Greek airspace.
- Joe will work diplomatically to bring a resolution to the Cyprus question.
- Joe will continue to be a strong voice for religious freedom globally, including the rights of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Biden original statement can be viewed here.