Athens University honours US Senator Robert Menendez

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The University of Athens bestowed an honorary doctorate to US Senator and Chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez in Athens on Friday.

At a ceremony in the grand hall in Athens, Mendez spoke of Turkey as "a permanent threat in the East Mediterranean" and said it was one of the major challenges the global community faces that include China, Russia and climate change.

In his address, Menendez said that Turkey, despite being a NATO ally, challenges Greece's sovereignty with provocative overflights in the Aegean.

"The violation of airspace with fighter aircraft is an unacceptable behavior for every country," the American senator noted, and referred also to the illegal occupation, as he called it, of Cyprus. He also charged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with following a divisive policy in East Europe, southern Caucasus, and in Europe.

Menendez also spoke of his own life experiences and of Greek-American relations, expressing his certainty collaboration will become closer in economy, climate change, security, and regional solidarity.

University of Athens Dean Thanos Dimopoulos noted that the honorary degree "honors a distinguished American citizen with a international appeal, who enjoys respect and appreciation across a wider spectrum of American political and social life, a great philhellene, and someone very knowledgeable on Greek issues, who has supported and still supports our country through time and at critical junctures."