In a historic speech to a Joint Session of the US Congress, which was frequently interrupted by applause and standing ovations, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed that revisionism “must be defeated.”
Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, Mitsotakis sent a clear message to Ankara to forget about its revisionism and put an end to its illegal overflights in the Aegean.
“I want to be absolutely clear. We will not accept open acts of aggression that violate our sovereignty and our territorial rights and these include overflights over Greek islands that must stop immediately,” he said, while also asking Congress to consider the danger of instability to NATO’s southeastern flank when it takes decision about supplying arms to the region.
“This language of resentment, of revisionism, of imperial nostalgia cannot prevail,” he emphatically stated, and referred to Turkey’s invasion and subsequent division of Cyprus in 1974. “I ask you not to forget an open wound that has caused Hellenism unending pain over the past 48 years,” he said, adding, “This issue has to be resolved in accordance with international law and in line with the relevant decisions of the United Nations Security Council.”
Flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he denounced Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, saying Vladimir Putin “is trying to create a world in which power is for the strong state but not the small, a world where territorial claims are made on the basis of historical fantasies and enforced by aggression rather than decided by peace treaties, a world in which armies rather than diplomats settle disputes. He will not succeed, he must not succeed.”
Mitsotakis said the strong bonds that unite the two nations and their common values “are once again being tested.”
“Our shared belief in freedom over tyranny, in democracy over authoritarianism, in the fundamental importance of respect for the rule of law over war and anarchy,” he said to applause.
“We recognize the importance of taking sides, and we took sides unequivocally, we stand by Ukraine against Putin’s aggression,” he stressed, and also referred to Greek steps to support Ukraine with humanitarian aid, arms, and by welcoming refugees.
For her part, Pelosi noted the “unshakable bond” between the two countries, recalling the US founders drew on the ancient Greek ideals of liberty and democracy. “Our nations are key allies on the world stage,” Pelosi said. “As our world faces a pivotal moment in the fight between the forces of democracy and autocracy, the transatlantic alliance remains vital to the future of freedom in the world,” she said.