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Saturday, May 15, 2021

US strategic ally Turkey: Biden’s pro-Turkish “Pirouette” – Jeffrey Payat: “We Must Keep Turkey in the West at All Costs”

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An electric shock was caused in Athens by the direction of the new American Foreign Policy, as stated by the declared Democrat, US Ambassador to Greece Jeffrey Payat.

To the disappointment of all those who believed that there would be a spectacular anti-Turkish turn, Mr. Payat not only did not talk about sanctions against Ankara regarding the activation of the famous S-400, but estimated that there is a place for Turkey on the EastMed pipeline, according to the front page of “Estia”

 

“We support the role of Greece in the East Med Gas Forum. We support what Greece has done with Egypt, with Israel, with Cyprus, in the energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, we also welcome the prospect of Turkey being one of the allies of the alliance if it is willing to act in accordance with international law. But this is not done unilaterally. It must be done with the participation of all stakeholders,” Jeffrey Payat said, who may be used in the Biden administration.

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Of course, these reports are not in line at all with the supposedly tough stance that the Biden government will adopt towards Erdogan. As has been shown many times by Greek media and other.

Also, Payat, in his interview with Alexia Tasouli at the Thessaloniki Summit, reiterated the firm position of the United States in favor of resolving disputes through diplomacy, by adding another important factor to the equation: Germany and the EU. Two words that were banned during the Trump presidency.

“The answer is diplomacy and talks, including the revival of exploratory talks, which is a top priority for the United States, also for Germany, and for all of Greece’s partners in the European Union.”

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To be noted that Berlin-Washington relations have been strained for the last four years, with Trump threatening the German car industry as well as the EU as a whole with tariffs, several times. Washington’s relations with Brussels were also frozen after its decision to withdraw the US from the climate agreements and Iran.

This is something that Biden will want to change, if elected as it seems, restoring close US-EU relations under Obama. This will also have an impact on the imposition of sanctions on Ankara, as has happened in the past with close US-EU cooperation on sanctions against Moscow following the annexation of Crimea.

True to the American “carrot and whip” tactic, Payat did not, of course, fail to disapprove Turkey’s provocative actions in the Eastern Mediterranean. “We have expressed to President Erdogan our concern about the activities of Oruc Reis and the provocative nature of these activities.”

He stressed, however, the need to keep Turkey “at any cost” in the West. “We need to find a way to reach out to the Turkish government and Turkish society and build opportunities for co-operation as NATO allies,” he said. “Conversations” and “diplomacy” were, on the other hand, the two keywords that dominated all his answers about the Greek-Turkish.

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Payat has also made several references to NATO, showing the Democrats’ intention to strengthen their role, in contrast to Trump who has even threatened to pull the US out of the North Atlantic Alliance if the partners do not increase their defense spending to 2% of GDP.

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In one of his last campaign speeches in Florida, Trump again blamed his allies for their stance because his country continues to “lift the burden” of NATO defense spending, while Berlin does not.

On the contrary, Payat is clearly in favor of restoring the channels of communication with the German government, but without retreating from the 2% target, praising Greece for keeping its commitments.

Therefore, if Biden becomes the 59th President of the United States, there will be a rapprochement of the European partners by returning to the Climate Agreement reached under Obama. “Today, the Trump administration withdrew from the Paris agreement on climate change. And  in exactly 77 days, the Biden administration will return to it,” he wrote emphatically on Twitter on November 5th.

However, this does not mean that the United States will suddenly become the biggest protectors of Greek interests against Turkish threats. The Americans want peace in the Eastern Mediterranean, but without “breaking eggs”.

After all, US gaze is now turned elsewhere… towards China.

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