Joe Biden Calls for Tough Stance on Turkey’s Provocations Against Greece

Former Vice President Joe Biden in January 2020. Credit: Phil Roeder/Flickr

Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden called for a tougher stance against Turkey saying that the US must press Turkey to refrain from any further provocative actions in the region against Greece.

In a statement he stressed the need for peace in the region and criticized President Trump’s handling of the crisis.

“The Trump administration must press Turkey to refrain from any further provocative actions in the region against Greece, including threats of force, to create the space for diplomacy to succeed.”

President Trump’s relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been the subject of scrutiny. The President has praised Erdogan, despite the Turkish President’s aggressive acts on the world stage, including recent the tensions with Greece and Cyprus and now with Armenia.

Erdogan has also been accused of human rights violations and supporting rising nationalism in his own country.

Many point to his decision to change the Hagia Sophia, one of the most important sites in Orthodox Christianity, from a museum into a mosque into a sign of increasing religious-based nationalism in Turkey.

Former Vice President Biden called on President Erdogan to “reverse his recent decision to convert the Hagia Sophia to a mosque and to return this treasure to its former status as a museum, ensuring equal access for all, including the Orthodox faithful.”

Biden’s full statement reads as follows:

“I support the efforts of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and our European allies, as well as the United States, to defuse tensions in the eastern Mediterranean and avoid a conflict from emerging within NATO. Disagreements in the region should be resolved peacefully, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected and protected.

“The agreement to establish a military deconfliction mechanism and the resumption of diplomatic talks between Greece and Turkey are welcome steps in the right direction. I also applaud Congressional action to finally end the counterproductive embargo on nonlethal security assistance for Cyprus, which is a strategic partner for the United States.

“The Trump administration must press Turkey to refrain from any further provocative actions in the region against Greece, including threats of force, to create the space for diplomacy to succeed. I also call on Turkish President Erdogan to reverse his recent decision to convert the Hagia Sophia to a mosque and to return this treasure to its former status as a museum, ensuring equal access for all, including the Orthodox faithful.”