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There are ‘consequences’ for Turkey’s actions

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Turkey’s hostility towards Greece and Cyprus and its non-cooperation as a NATO partner will be challenged, warned US Senator Robert Menendez during the Economist New York-Mediterranean Business Summit.

“Despite being an ally in NATO, Turkey is challenging Greek sovereignty with provocative overflights in the Aegean. Violations of Greek airspace with fighters are unacceptable behaviour by any country. Turkey is undermining NATO unity at a critical time,” Menendez said.

“We need to make it clear to Turkey that there will be consequences for violations of international law and overflights in the Aegean.

“I find it very difficult to agree to selling other military equipment to Turkey.”

Menendez criticised Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan’s attitude towards Israel.

In addition, the Senator said that Ankara “at the end of the day will remove the obstacles to the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO”.

Menendez noted the good cooperation of Congress and President Biden in lifting the US arms embargo on Cyprus with the ultimate goal of modernising its defence system.

“Cyprus has proven to be a worthy partner,” he said, adding that the USA is committed to working with Greece, Cyprus, and Israel.

Referring to the recent meeting of the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with the American President Joe Biden and his speech before the Congress, Menendez said that “it was a historical speech with great influence by a Greek leader.

Regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Menendez stressed the importance of alliances based on common values ​​of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

He said that Vladimir Putin would de-escalate his aggression only when he felt the economic stalemate was suffocating.

The US Senator referred to the goal of turning the Eastern Mediterranean into a centre for energy autonomy of Europe and independence from Russian energy reserves.

EastMed

Erika Olson, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, commented on the construction of the EastMed gas pipeline at the summit.

“If stakeholders and the private sector in the area feel the project would be commercially and environmentally sustainable, then this is a discussion they will have themselves.

“We are just interested in upgrading energy security in the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe in general.”

Olson said the US supports Greece’s energy security and runs almost 50% of the country’s LNG imports while working together with the EU for its energy diversification.

It has committed to additional LNG supplies that will amount to 15 billion cubic meters of gas by the end of 2022.

Minister of Defence Charalambos Petrides met Senator Menendez and the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris.

During his speech at the Economist conference, he highlighted the regional role of Cyprus as a dependable partner in military cooperation.