NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg avoided taking a side as he addressed the issue of Turkey’s provocations against Greece on Friday, stating that differences should be resolved through diplomatic means.
The NATO official commented on Greek-Turkish relations during a joint press conference he held with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Brussels in the context of a NATO meeting on Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Asked for a reaction to comments made by Turkish President Erdogan regarding Greece the previous weekend, Stoltenberg said: “Turkey and Greece are two highly valued Allies. They participate and contribute to NATO in many different ways. Any differences between them, of course, should be solved by diplomatic means,” Stoltenberg said.
He added: “We have also […] established what we call a deconfliction mechanism [at NATO] where Turkey and Greece can engage and have used this previously to provide information […and] ways to deconflict any dangerous situation or behavior in, for instance, the Aegean Sea.”
Blinken agreed with Stoltenberg, repeating that Greece and Turkey “are both vital, important allies, friends of the United States.”
“They have differences, and of course we’d like to see them resolve these differences in a constructive way through dialogue,” he concluded. “They’ve done so in the past, and we would expect them to do so going forward.”
Earlier this week, Greece had sent letters to the UN, EU, and NATO alerting of the unprecedented barrage of threats and provocations by Turkey against the country.
Sent on behalf of Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and addressed to the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, the head of European Union diplomacy, Josep Borrell, and the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, the letters reproduced in full the statements made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with respect to Greece, noting that they consisted of comments that were “unprovoked, unacceptable, and insulting for Greece and the Greek people.”