The recent visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Washington has been an easy diplomatic victory for him, as U.S. President Donald Trump made some serious concessions to Turkey. And it was not the first time this has happened.
Once again, Greece and Cyprus saw the American president laying down the red carpet for a leader who has repeatedly violated international law and frequently threatens neighboring countries, acting like an all-powerful sultan from the days of the Ottoman empire.
During the press conference following the meeting of the two leaders, Trump even went so far as to call Erdogan a “very good friend.” These words are a great cause for concern for Greece and Cyprus, who watch Turkish aggression in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean continue unfettered.
Not once did President Trump speak about Turkey’s purchase of the Russian missile defense system, much less about the concomitant sanctions he had earlier announced. It should be noted that this procurement is in violation of the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions” act, which Trump himself signed into law in 2017.
Then Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who was part of the meeting between Trump and Erdogan, blocked the U.S. House of Representatives’ recent resolution, passed by a margin of 405-11, to recognize the mass killings of Armenians by the Turks during World War I as a genocide.
To that, Erdogan added insult to injury by launching a scathing attack on the House of Representatives.
And, of course, there was no word on Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria and the killing of hundreds of Syrian Kurds who had been U.S. allies in the war against the Islamic State in Syria until very recently.
So the Turkish president left the White House with a bag full of gifts, courtesy of the American President, seemingly free to continue his expansionist vision.
One wonders what would be the reasons Turkey continues to enjoy such favorable treatment from the White House. It is of course a NATO ally with considerable military strength and an important geopolitical position.
But no other NATO member has ever in history exhibited such aggressive behavior toward its neighbors, especially toward other NATO members, such as Greece.
John Bolton, who had served in the White House as national security adviser for 17 months, suggested that U.S. policy on Turkey is motivated by personal and financial interests, implying that the U.S. president and his family have substantial business interests in Turkey.
Regardless of the reasons why the White House remains so friendly to Turkey, the country’s behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Turkish-Syrian border area continues to be disruptive.
Apparently, at the moment, Greece does not have enough diplomatic power to overcome economic interests and earn the respect and protection of the U.S. and NATO in regard to Turkish aggression.
The same applies to Cyprus, a European Union member which has had its exclusive economic zone repeatedly violated by Turkey in recent months while its northern part has been occupied by Turkish armed forces since 1974.
And every single day Turkey allows hundreds of migrants to leave its shores and land on the northeastern Greek islands, continuously blackmailing Europe with the release of more of the 3.6 million migrants and refugees currently on its soil.