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Turkey’s actions in the region undermine Nato unit, US official says

Oruc Reis
The Oruc Reis returned to port last week

US Undersecretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker has condemned the Turkish policy in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, stressing that Ankara’s actions undermine Nato unity, thus contradicting US policy in the region.

According to the CNA, he said the US has repeatedly forwarded Washington’s view to Turkey on overflights of Greek territory, its drilling activities in the waters of Cyprus, the signing of the memorandum on the delimitation of the maritime zones with Libya, as well as its stated intention to conduct hydrocarbon exploration on the basis of this memorandum

“They are provocative and unhelpful actions that increase tensions in the region,” Reeker said.

Expressing the US’s deep concern over the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Reeker said the main goal of US foreign policy was to de-escalate and ensure that lines of communication remain open to support allied unity within Nato.

He acknowledged the strategic importance of the eastern Mediterranean and explained the state department’s vision, saying: “The US government is deeply concerned about rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, especially between Greece and Turkey, two Nato allies.”

Reeker added that these tensions complicate Nato’s efforts to present a common front against the destabilising activities of Russia in the region and involve the risk of an accidental escalation “while acknowledging that there are challenges” that beset US-Turkey relations.

The US official said Turkey remained a key Nato ally and the US would continue to work with it in areas of mutual interest.

“We are confident that [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and his senior officials understand our position,” added Reeker.

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