On Saturday, a group of 16 members of the US Congress, led by Representatives Frank Pallone, Carolyn B. Maloney, and Gus Bilirakis, has condemned Turkey’s reckless actions in the Eastern Mediterranean that have increased tensions between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members.
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark Esper, the congressmen urged the Trump Administration to condemn Turkish actions and work with the United States’ regional partners to de-escalate the tension.
“Turkey’s recent actions in the Eastern Mediterranean are part of an unfortunate pattern deliberately designed to destabilise the region and capitalise on the resulting chaos,” Congressman Pallone said.
He added, “In this case, Erdogan has ordered Turkish military units to breach the sovereign territories of our NATO allies, including Greece and Cyprus, resulting in a series of near misses between Turkish and Greek, Cypriot, and French navies.”
Pallone noted that the Trump Administration’s deafening silence after Erdogan’s consistent sabre rattling must end.
“The United States needs to condemn Turkey’s recent acts of provocation quickly and without ambiguity. Greece and Cyprus have the absolute right to develop the hydrocarbon resources within their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). We cannot let Turkey continue to destabilise the region and threaten the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that has taken hold,” said Congressman Bilirakis.
He stated, “Turkey’s aggressive actions in the Eastern Mediterranean over the past few months have raised tensions in the region to dangerously high levels. Turkey’s illegal and repeated violations of Greek and Cypriot sovereignty in pursuit of drilling for natural gas are unacceptable and dangerous.”
In just the last few weeks, Greece has needed to rapidly mobilise its armed forces in response to threats from Turkey, raising the troubling prospect of a conflict between NATO-member countries. Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Esper must publicly condemn Turkey’s actions and make it absolutely clear that the US will not stay silent as Turkey encroaches upon two of our critical allies in the region, Greece and Cyprus,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.