Testifying before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Blinken said that the United States has spoken up about actions that violate international law in the Eastern Mediterranean — which includes Turkey’s actions against Greece.
“We have looked with real concern over the last year and of course more recently, at some of the actions taken in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly by Turkey, in terms of various claims,” Blinken said.
“It is very important that the US stands up and engages in advancing stability sovereignty and territorial integrity of all parties in Eastern Mediterranean and insists that any disputes that arise will be resolved peacefully, diplomatically, not militarily, not through provocative actions,” he added.
“We have called out actions, including by Turkey, that violate international law or commitments as NATO ally and that includes provocative actions against Greece like violations of airspace,” the Secretary of State added.
Blinken on Cyprus talks
Asked about Cyprus and the upcoming UN-sponsored talks in April, Blinken noted that it is an issue that US President Joe Biden has been very much engaged in throughout his career and which “he takes very, very seriously.”
“We strongly support a comprehensive settlement that reunifies Cyprus in a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
“We will engage in the effort to advance that prospect, including supporting the critical role of the United as well direct American engagement in that effort. So I think you’ll see American diplomacy fully engaged,” he told the committee.
U.S.- Greece relationship
The US Administration has signaled its intention to toughen its stance against Turkey.
Last October, President Joe Biden’s team issued an outline of the policies that the White House will implement regarding Greek-Americans and relations with Greece and Cyprus.
“Throughout his many years in public life, Joe Biden has a long record of engagement on issues important to Greek-Americans and a record of support for strengthening the U.S.-Greece relationship,” the document says.
It adds that Biden has worked personally with Greek leaders over many decades to strengthen the alliance. “As President, Joe Biden will be committed to a strong dialogue with both Greek-American leaders and the leadership of Greece to sustain the bond between our countries,” it pledges.
The document lists a number of initiatives Biden has taken to strengthen the US relationship with Greece and Cyprus, including:
- working closely with European leaders and the International Monetary Fund to ensure that Greece got a fair deal during the financial crisis,
- opposing the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, calling on the Trump Administration to press Turkey to refrain from further provocative actions in the region against Greece,
- showing “unwavering support” for the ability of the Patriarchate to function in its role as the center of the Greek Orthodox Church.
The document pledged that, if elected, Joe Biden would do the following:
● Will work with our close ally Greece to advance stability in the eastern Mediterranean.
● Unlike President Trump, he will call out Turkish behavior that is in violation of international law or that contravenes its commitments as a NATO ally, such as Turkish violations of Greek airspace.
● He will work diplomatically to bring a resolution to the Cyprus question.
● He will continue to be a strong voice for religious freedom globally, including the rights of the Greek Orthodox Church.