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Anthony Blinken: The background to his visits to Greece and Turkey

Featured Anthony Blinken: The background to his visits to Greece and Turkey

Anthony Blinken today (21/02) concludes his visit to Athens after his trip to Turkey. The US Secretary of State aimed to propose that the two countries provide weapons to Ukraine in order for Kiev to defeat Moscow.

Beyond Ukraine, however, the second major goal of the American Foreign Ministry was to observe the state of Greek-Turkish relations. The timing was right for Athens mainly due to the de-escalation of the tension between Greece and Turkey, so Greece had the opportunity to promote its role as a factor of security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

What Greece gained from Blinken's visit

When the Mitsotakis-Blinken conversation reached the Ukrainian War, Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated "As you know, Greece has fully supported Ukraine with military aid and we have sent, in every possible form, together with our allies, the signal that the use of violence is unacceptable in democratic countries."

For his part, Blinken reiterated the need to support Kiev by sending equipment until Ukraine defeats Moscow, however there is no pressure on this issue towards Greece.

The reason is that Greece was one of the first countries to send material and ammunition to Kyiv, while at the moment only the completion of the exchange of Armored BMP-1s with Marders is pending.

On the other hand, today (21/02) the start of the 4th round of the Greece-US Strategic Dialogue is announced. The US Secretary of State spoke of a "vehicle" that really further strengthens the partnership of the two countries on a bilateral level, but also the work they do together in the region and in the world.

In this context, Greece and the US are expected to discuss their intention to further deepen their bilateral strategic cooperation, the cornerstone of which is the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA), which may lead to additional investments, such as those that have already done at the air bases of Larissa and Souda, the naval station of Souda and the port of Alexandroupolis.

It is also estimated that the equipment programs will also be put on the table, with Athens waiting for the official American response for the F-35s and openly expressing its interest in new C-130J transports.

"Thank you" to Mitsotakis for the aid to Turkey

But beyond that, Anthony Blinken thanked Mr. Mitsotakis for the immediate help he provided to Turkey in this difficult moment. The two noted the importance for both sides of ensuring balance in the Eastern Mediterranean at a critical geopolitical juncture.

On the other hand, the Greek Prime Minister stated that the stable position of Greece and the guiding principle of its policy was and remains the peaceful resolution of disputes and good neighborly relations based on International Law.

The working dinner was attended by the Greek Minister of National Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos, the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni, the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Yiannis Bratakos, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Theoharis Lalakos, the Greek Ambassador to the USA Alexandra Papadopoulou , the director of the Diplomatic Office of the Prime Minister, ambassador Anna-Maria Boura, as well as the deputy government representative Aristotelia Peloni.

State Department announcement after the Mitsotakis-Blinken meeting

"The strong US-Greece relationship" was underscored during the meeting that the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, had with the Prime Minister.

The Secretary of State thanked the Prime Minister for Greece's regional leadership, including its continued support for Ukraine and its role as a regional energy hub.

They discussed the tragic earthquake in Turkey and the commitment to support those affected. The two sides discussed their commitment as strong NATO allies to democracy, peace and prosperity."

What has Turkey garnered

Before his visit to Greece, Anthony Blinken was in Turkey, where he saw firsthand the magnitude of the devastation left behind by the earthquakes in Turkey. The head of American diplomacy met with Mevlut Cavusoglu and Tayyip Erdogan.

The US Secretary announced a new aid of 100 million dollars for the victims of the earthquake in Turkey, which counts more than 42,000 dead. Regarding the F-16 aircraft Turkey wants, Blinken said that the Biden administration has already proposed the approval of their sale to Congress.

He also said that it is a "national and security interest" for the Washington government to upgrade the number of such fighter jets that Turkey already has. On the other hand, he explained that he cannot give a timetable for the "unfreezing" of the process, but he assured again that the White House is in contact with Congress.

What will happen next with the issue of Sweden and NATO.

After the fighters, the issue of Sweden and Finland joining NATO was raised, which, although it does not play a role for Turkey at the moment, is of particular interest to the American government.

That is why and in the Turkish objections regarding Sweden, because Finland's accession can proceed normally, but the country does not wish to proceed alone, that is, that it must take concrete steps to address Ankara's terrorist concerns, Blinken replied that these have already been done.

As he characteristically said, for their part, the two countries have respected the terms of the memorandum they have signed with Turkey, while he pointed out that the enlargement of NATO is not a bilateral issue. Washington expected the relative delay until the next meeting of the Alliance, but it seems determined to have finally resolved the issue before it takes place.

Why was Blinken's visit to Turkey so belated

It is worth noting that the first visit of the US Secretary of State to Turkey had been planned for some time, but had been 'up in the air' due to the deterioration of relations between the two countries, because of the Turkish purchase of missile defense systems from Russia.

Vladimir Putin's cooperative relationship with Erdogan, which he has officially and through the back door due to Western sanctions for the Russian war on Ukrainian territory, will continue to be a source of concern for Joe Biden for the time to come.