WASHINGTON – The United States is pushing NATO nations to dialogue with Turkey in hopes of reconciling the differences that have brought it closer to Russia, but at least one of its allies is preparing for further turmoil.
Being embroiled in an ongoing dispute with Turkey over rights and resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Greece has repeatedly put its naval forces on alert in recent weeks.
Defense Minister Nikos Panayotopoulos expressed concerns that tensions between the two countries are part of a broader picture.
Turkey “is becoming more confident in its strength”, which is combined with an increase in “aggressive rhetoric, confrontational attitude and revisionist political stance,” Panayotopoulos stated on Thursday during the German Marshall Fund video conference.
“At some point you have to do something,” he said. “Unfortunately, this entails some unpleasant moments.”
Panayotopoulos and other officials said this new aggressiveness was especially vivid Wednesday, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at the West and France while speaking to members of his political party.
The Turkish leader said that the West is “returning to a period of barbarism.”
Western countries, especially NATO members, were outraged by Turkey’s recent tests of the Russian S-400 air defense system.
Panayotopoulos believes that Turkey will activate the Russian system soon enough and that NATO may not have enough time to take meaningful action.
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