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US: ‘Turkey is undermining NATO unity and must suspend flights over Greece’

WASHINGTON, (BM) – US Undersecretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker has condemned the Turkish policy in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, stressing that Ankara’s actions undermine NATO unity, thus has been set by Washington in the region, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Pentapostagma.

Read more: French Rafales join Crete while UAE fighter jets ‘trap’ the Turks

“We have repeatedly conveyed to Turkey that its overflights over Greek territory, its drilling activities in the waters of Cyprus, the signing of the memorandum on the demarcation of maritime zones with Libya, as well as its stated intention to conduct investigations into. At the base of this memorandum are provocative and unhelpful actions that increase tensions in the region,” he said.

Expressing deep US concern over the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Mr. Reeker said that the main goal of US foreign policy is to de-escalate and ensure that lines of communication remain open to support allied unity within NATO.

Continuing, he acknowledged the strategic importance of the Eastern Mediterranean and explained the State Department’s vision, saying “the US government is deeply concerned about rising tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially between Greece and Turkey, two NATO allies.”

“These tensions complicate NATO’s efforts to present a common front in the face of Russia’s destabilizing activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and pose the risk of an unintended escalation” also he said.

While acknowledging that there are challenges facing US-Turkish relations, Philip Reeker said Turkey remains a key ally in NATO and the United States will continue to work with it in areas of mutual interest.

“We are confident that President [Turkish Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and his senior officials understand our position,” said Philip Reeker, adding that the US government continues to strongly oppose the purchase of S-400s from Turkey.

Philip Reeker added that the suspension of Turkey’s participation and the pending expulsion of the F-35 program in response to the purchase of S-400 signals the seriousness with which the US government is approaching this issue and our willingness to have consequences.

Read more: Turkey supplies weapons to Libya following a plan to besiege Greece and Egypt

“We are deeply concerned by reports that Turkey is continuing its efforts to deploy the S-400s, and we have emphasized that the S-400 issue remains a major obstacle to bilateral relations and NATO.”

Turkish F-16s and warships responded to Greece and UAE in Aegean Sea

As we reported on August 22 the Turkish air and naval forces carried out joint training exercises in the Aegean Sea, the country’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday, continuing to challenge Greece in every way, after the practical military support from countries such as France and the UAE.

The F-16 fighter jets took part along with warships to “strengthen, maintain and improve the operational capacity of joint operations between forces”, the ministry said.

The announcement was not made by chance as NATO members Turkey and Greece have their eyes on the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey is conducting illegal investigations to find natural gas and oil in the Greek EEZ.

Ankara, with such challenges through exercises, is trying to intensify its aggressive behavior in our Archipelago. It is not a coincidence that we mentioned that they carried out such an exercise, one day after the announcement of Turkey for significant discoveries of natural gas deposits in the Black Sea, according to the Turkish officials.

Two weeks ago, Turkey sent a research vessel accompanied by a warship to search waters in which Greece has exclusive rights to the underwater seabed.

Athens responded by sending its own warships to the area and putting its army on alert. France actively supported Greece and Cyprus, as it also sent warships and planes to conduct exercises with Greek forces.

Read more: Allies conflict: Greece deployed tanks and defense systems along the border with Turkey

In addition, as mentioned in a previous article, the UAE will also send fighter jets to Crete for joint training next week.

Greek-Turkish relations have traditionally been tense. The two countries have been on the brink of war three times since the mid-1970s, including once for drilling in the Aegean.

French relations with Turkey are strained by Ankara’s involvement in the Libyan civil war. The UAE is a bitter opponent of Turkey in a wider struggle for political Islam, while Abu Dhabi and Ankara support rival factions in Libya.

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