US State Department responds to latest Turkish threats

department of state

The United States Department of State responded on Monday to the latest threats by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who threatened a missile strike on Sunday night, by expressing its regret over provocative statements and urging a de-escalation in the region.

“At a time when unity is needed most among our Allies, the United States regrets the escalation of provocative statements. We urge all our allies to avoid threats and provocative rhetoric that will only raise tensions and help no one,” said the State Department.

Turkey has ratcheted up the rhetoric in recent months, with Turkish government officials saying alleged violations by Athens of international treaties put the sovereignty of some Greek islands under dispute. Erdogan also threatened to land Turkish troops in Greece “suddenly one night.” Even so, a threat of a missile strike is highly unusual.

“Mr. Erdogan must know well that our country can be neither terrorized nor intimidated,” Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said during a media briefing in Athens. “Mr. Erdogan thinks that as many times as he repeats the irrational and unjust, he can make it rational and just. That is not going to happen.”

Greece, Oikonomou said, "is absolutely determined, is always prepared, ready to defend international legality, to defend its sovereignty and its sovereign rights.”