AHEPA Supreme President George Horiates
The January 7 White House meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is welcomed as a further indication that United States-Greece relations are at an apex.
HEPA expects the meeting to reaffirm the robust state of relations, citing examples such as Greece’s announced $1.5 billion upgrade of its F-16 fighter jet fleet, which benefits U.S. companies such as Lockheed Martin and its partners that work on such a project; in addition to the recently revised Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement.
Looking forward, AHEPA is optimistic all facets of the bilateral relationship will continue to advance because Greece is a trusted and reliable allyand a demonstrated economic and political leader in an increasingly important part of the world.
AHEPA applauds the Trump administration’s high-level engagement with Greece. During the past year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross each visited Greece. AHEPA contends this level of engagement must be sustained, especially as tensions in the region continue to be stoked. The United States must stand clearly and resolutely by Greece, which endures constant violations of its sovereignty by Turkey. These Turkish hostilities, and other malign influences in the region, are a detriment to U.S. interests and to Greece’s prosperity.
For its part, Greece must continue to implement measures and reforms that instill confidence in foreign direct investment from the United States. The United States’ exemption of more than 1,000 Greek products from tariffs is another example of a strong bilateral relationship.
Refugees and migrants are arriving to Greece in elevated numbers not seen since the height of the crisis in 2015 and 2016. Here, too, Turkey largely is responsible. The United States must make it clear to Turkey that it must curb the migrant flow. The United States should also exercise diplomacy with the European Union to assist Greece with its migrant and refugee crisis much like the United States did when Greece endured its economic crisis. To address the processing of refugees and migrants, AHEPA appreciates the United States’ lending its expertise in counterterrorism training. Moreover, AHEPA expects Greece’s standing in the United States Visa Waiver Program to continue to improve as Greece works to modernize its national ID program.
Finally, the AHEPA family, which now has chartered more than 60 chapters in Greece, is especially eager to see progress in people-to-people ties, especially as plans are being made to commemorate the bicentennial of Greece’s Independence in 2021. Furthermore, with education being a key element of AHEPA’s mission, AHEPA lauds the creation of new student exchange and English language programs and looks forward to their development.
AHI President Nick Larigakis
The United States-Greece relationship is a strong and healthy one and President Donald Trump’s invitation to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis underscores the excellent state of relations.
It is in the United States’ best interest for Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean to be politically, economically and socially stable, and for democratic principles to flourish, including adherence to the rule of law. Greece is an immensely valuable link as “a pillar of stability” in the region as several high-level U.S. government officials have noted.
The U.S.-Greece relationship has reached new heights by virtue of an ongoing Strategic Dialogue, where avenues for cooperation among many sectors, including: regional cooperation, defense and security, and trade and investment, among others, are plotted for implementation. Greece is a pivotal and dependable NATO ally to advance U.S. interests and is a frontline state against terrorism.
It is evident Greece contributes significantly to U.S. interests. However, it becomes increasingly challenging for Greece to fulfill this important role when it constantly is expending valuable resources to defend itself against aggressive and provocative behavior emanating from a fellow NATO member, Turkey. Turkey’s routine challenges to Greece’s sovereignty must cease and desist.
Greece also is an important player in international commerce and trade, especially via its shipping industry. AHI commends the Administration’s engagement with Greece on economic relations, which has occurred at the high levels. It is important to note that Turkey threatens Greece’s economic development too. Turkey exploits its control over the flow of migrants to Europe. Greece has carried the heavy burden of migrant flows to Europe, which has had a detrimental impact upon Greece’s economy.
Therefore, the opportunity must be taken during the meeting for President Trump to commit to ensuring Greece’s security and economic development, which are being challenged in a multitude of ways by Turkey. Turkey is the perpetrator of instability in the Eastern Mediterranean and broader region which is detrimental to U.S. security interests. Turkey is a failed NATO ally that cozies up to Russia and Iran. However, President Trump’s personal relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can be an asset and yield an opportunity to open the door to peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The U.S. must demonstrate strong, unequivocal support of Greece by continuing to strengthen relations across all sectors and by applying the rule of law to Turkey for its illegal actions.
Andy and Mike Manatos
on the visit of Prime
to Washington, DC
“In the five decades that we have routinely worked with top American officials on improving bilateral relations with Greece, we have not seen a White House visit by a Greek Prime Minister with more promise than the upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President Trump. Mitsotakis’ background steeped in economics plus the aggressive steps he has taken for Greece’s economy since his election are certain to impress his fellow Ivy Leaguer President, whose own life has been very much driven by business. This visit stands far and away as the best chance of accomplishing what previous visits aspired to accomplish but never achieved – serious economic-and-job-stimulating American investment in Greece.
Complementing what Prime Minister Mitsotakis brings to this meeting is the most promising moment in our bilateral relations in the last half a century. He arrives as American policymakers are beginning to understand the unique value of allies in the Eastern Mediterranean region that are stable Western Democracies. The US Congress, our State Department and our Defense Department are still reeling from Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missiles, capable of negating US and NATO F-35 fighter jet stealth capability. This comes after America has sent to Turkey, over the years, $12 billion in foreign aid, the benefits from 5,000 American airmen at our Incirlik base in Adana and strict adherence to a very pro-Turkish foreign policy.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis personally and his visit also fit perfectly the emerging and profound Eastern Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) that is esteemed by America and Israel. His deep commitment to this subject is reminiscent of his father, former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis. Immediately upon his election in 1990, Andy Athens, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and we worked closely for some months to establish full diplomatic relations between Greece and Israel. Without that courageous Mitsotakis change of course for Greece, the EMP that is now hopefully being institutionalized in America may well not exist.”
HALC Executive Director Endy Zemenides on the visit
This visit is an opportunity to begin a new phase in the bilateral relationship.
The first phase established Greece as a reliable and politically stable ally on the one hand, and the US’s interest and ability to upgrade this relationship.
But now, more substance needs to be given to the “pillar of stability” rhetoric. The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act and the Strategic Dialogue lay out many options for substantive moves, and several – if not all – of them should be prioritized.
At a minimum, the Trump Administration should commit to incentivizing American investments in certain strategic sectors in Greece under the BUILD Act.