Greek, Turkish officers meet

Washington – The Western Policy Center on Tuesday launched the second Eastern Mediterranean Security Conference, an independent and unofficial project which brings together active and retired Greek, Turkish, and US military officers, diplomats, and security analysts. The aim of the project is to enable officials to review Eastern Mediterranean security issues, explore the roles of the respective militaries in improving relations between Greece and Turkey, and examine opportunities for stepped-up regional cooperation in the war against global terrorism. The conference started yesterday and will run until today in conjunction with the National Defense University (NDU), the premier American institution for joint professional military education, research, and international engagement activities. The Western Policy Center continues its work in advancing the security dialogue between two strategically important NATO allies in Southeastern Europe, said Executive Director John Sitilides. We look forward to the opportunity to build greater understanding and communication between the Greek and Turkish militaries, to further rapprochement between the two allies. The four areas of discussion include Balkan security, regional counterterrorism, Aegean confidence-building measures, and a new Cyprus security framework. The Greek delegation consists of Dr. Stelios Alifantis, professor at Panteios University; Vice Admiral Antonios Filippou, Greek Navy, Ret., former chief of policy, Greek General Staff; and Dr. Sergios Zambouras, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Mediterranean Studies and member of the Scientific Committee at the Greek Ministry of National Defense. The Turkish delegation consists of Major General Armagan Kuloglu, Turkish Army, Ret., head of Geopolitics and Strategic Studies at the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies; Dr. Umit Ozdag, chairman of the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies; and Vice Admiral Turhan Ozer, Turkish Navy, Ret. The American delegation includes Ambassador Thomas Weston, Special State Department Coordinator for Cyprus; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Schneider; and Bruce Hardcastle of the Defense Intelligence Agency for counterterrorism policy. Col. Stephen Norton and Lt. Col. Harry Dinella of the Western Policy Center will oversee the panel discussions, along with Dr. Judith Yaphe of NDU’s Institute for National Strategic Studies. They will be joined by Dr. Ian O. Lesser of the RAND organization; Anthony Blinken, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former European Affairs director at the National Security Council; Admiral T. Joseph Lopez, US Navy, Ret.; and Ambassador James A. Williams, former Special State Department Coordinator for Cyprus.

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