Blinken bridging Athens, Ankara divide

Excellent relations with Washington confirmed during ongoing visit by US secretary of state

Blinken bridging Athens, Ankara divide

The excellent level of Greek-American relations was confirmed by the visit to Athens of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who had a private meeting on Monday night with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who then hosted a dinner in his honor. 

Blinken’s arrival in Athens immediately after Ankara – where, in addition to his meeting with his counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, he also had a brief meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – reflected one of the main objectives of this trip to the region, namely to support the effort to open up more coherent channels of communication between Greece and Turkey.

“Turkey and Greece are close friends and, of course, NATO allies. And both are very important partnerships and relationships for us. It was incredibly gratifying to see Greeks – and also, by the way, Armenians, Israelis – working shoulder to shoulder with Turks to help people in the earthquake,” he said upon his arrival to Athens, adding that “if there can be anything positive coming from this catastrophe, maybe it is improved relations with these countries.”

“I think Turkey has taken steps to try to improve relations. We very much support those. I look forward to conversations in Greece to see how we can be helpful,” he added.

Blinken also praised Greece’s response to the Ukrainian war, “as one of the first countries to come out in support of Ukraine, to support democracy, which is being tested by Russian aggression.”

He also referred to Greece’s leading role in the region both on energy issues and “the integration of states in Europe, the Western Balkans.” The Blinken statement was a reference to the Prespa name agreement with North Macedonia as well as the important role Greece is playing in efforts to find a compromise between Pristina and Belgrade.

Welcoming the US secretary of state, Mitsotakis first referred to the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stressed that “we must send the message that any form of revisionism, any change of borders by force cannot be tolerated by the international community of democratic states.” 

On Tuesday, Blinken and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will chair the 4th round of Strategic Dialogue between the US and Greece and discuss the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement.

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