John Sitilides, a diplomatic adviser to the US State Department, spoke to OPEN TV about Greek and US policy towards Turkey and the East Mediterranean.
Regarding the possibility of European sanctions against Ankara, Sitilides lowers the bar of expectations due to Germany.
The State Department adviser said “the Turkey issue is not [being] resolved inside of the European Union. And you have countries, such as Germany, which tend to be much more friendly towards Turkey.”
Regarding the US government’s stance on Greek-Turkish, the Greek-born State Department adviser stressed: “Like every administration, ensuring that there is no conflict between Greece and Turkey is always one of the top priorities. I think that will remain a priority of a Biden administration in the next four years.”
As for Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan?
“As long as President Erdoğan is in power, many in Washington, and not only in Greece but in many countries in Europe and in the Middle East, fear that Turkey is going to be a very problematic country to deal with. But the reality is Turkey is not going away, and the problem really comes from the leadership style of President Erdoğan.”
“There is going to be significant upgrades to three air fields and army bases in Greece for the US and Greece to work very closely together,” he said.
“And the degree to which its important for the US to work, not just with Greece, but major European militaries, that of France, that of Italy, and also Arab allies now of Greece such as the United Arab Emirates, which has a military vessel in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the State Department adviser said.
Another US diplomat, former US ambassador to Greece and former State Department spokesman, Nicholas Burns, spoke to Mega about Turkey:
“I am worried about it as someone who obviously wants to see Greece’s territorial integrity respected. My own personal view is that President Erdoğan has gone to far in contesting Greek sovereignty and Greek territorial waters and there’s no question under international law where the borders are,” he said.
“This is not new of course, the Turks have long contested Greek sovereignty in the Eastern Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean Sea. I think it is incumbent upon the Turkish government to pull back – this is my own personal view – and to end these very aggressive moves towards both Greece and Cyprus, and get back to talks,” the diplomat said.
“If the Turks want to assert that they have a different view of sovereignty, there’s a place to do that. The international court of justice is one place to do that,” he continued.
“Turkey has become a major headache of all of NATO, and of course for EU countries,” Burns concluded.