Stepping up American support, the US ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, said a deal between Libya and Turkey to divide the seas between them – Turkey said it would drill for energy off Crete – was “unproductive and provocative,” according to The National Herald.
Pyatt said inhabited Greek islands are on the same footing as mainland coastline in the delineation of marine zones, responding to questions from reporters about the agreement that saw Turkey claim waters near Greek islands without recognizing them.
Pyatt also noted that Turkey was already hunting for oil and gas in Cypriot sovereign waters, ignoring calls to stop from the legitimate government of the island where Turkey has occupied the northern third since an unlawful 1974 occupation.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also was pressed by the US to stop, but didn’t, and the European Union issued only soft sanctions, amid fears that he could flood the bloc with millions more refugees through Greek islands who went to his country fleeing war and strife in the Middle East and other regions.
Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, meeting with US President Donald Trump in the White House on Jan. 7, had hoped for US intervention with Erdoğan but got no commitment from the American leader, who said he considers Erdoğan a friend.
Still, Pyatt said the Trump-Mitsotakis talks were a success although they didn’t give Greece the full assurance sought, apart from lip service from the American president that there were always talks going on with Turkey.