The US State Department on Wednesday pointed to “America’s national interests” in response to a question about Greece’s violation of an international treaty by deploying US armored vehicles on two Aegean islands.
When asked by an Anadolu Agency reporter about a protest lodged by Türkiye against Washington for providing Greece with military vehicles, spokesman Ned Price admitted that the US is implementing a double standard on provisions of its military sales to Greece and Türkiye.
Reiterating his call on both Athens and Ankara to resolve their differences diplomatically, Price said: “We urge all the parties to avoid rhetoric and to avoid actions that could further exacerbate tensions. The sovereignty and the territorial integrity of all countries should be respected.”
When pressed if there was any provision on the sale of military equipment provided to Greece, which are used in violation of international agreements, Price responded: “We’re always taking a close look at the security assistance, including potential weapons systems and supplies that we’re providing to allies and partners around the world.”
He said the US provides its partners with security aid to confront “shared challenges and shared threats,” and continued: “There’s a constant evaluative process when it comes to looking at the security systems we provide to any country around the world.”
Asked again if a provision is applied to one partner and not the other and what the standard is, Price said: “The standard we use is what is in America’s national interests. And it just so happens that when it comes to our allies and partners, what tends to be in our national interest is in the collective interest as well.”
Later, an Associated Press reporter entered the conversation with a question about S-400 missiles, asking Price why the US is telling Turks to not deploy or buy them “when you talk about how it’s up to each country to oversee or determine the deployment of their own defenses.”
“Of course, countries around the world are open to make their own choices. There will be cases, extreme cases, where certain choices will have implications on the part of the United States’ bilateral relationship,” said Price.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday criticized the US for its tilted stance amid simmering tensions between Türkiye and Greece, calling out Washington for its unequal treatment of NATO allies.
There is simply no comparison in Türkiye and Greece’s importance in NATO, Erdogan said in a televised interview, stressing that the US “cannot find another ally like Türkiye.”
“Our expectation from the US is not to involve Greece in wrong calculations and not to allow the manipulation of international public opinion,” he added.