Donald Trump encourages Turkey’s aggressive behavior, whilst Biden has proved to be on Greece’s side
On November 3rd American citizens will decide on their new president. This is an election that could be critical not only for the future of the United States, but also for the future of Greece. Only Joe Biden’s victory could protect the interests of Greece against Erdogan’s Turkey, which has transformed into a dangerous threat for Greece, as well as for the wider region, with Donald Trump’s encouragement.
American citizens know, by now, who Donald Trump is. They have witnessed over four years a president – who may not have been elected if it weren’t for the unfair support of a hostile power, such as Russia – showing disrespect towards institutions which are the pillars of America’s democracy and openly undermining them, adopting a model of authoritarian governance, trivializing its international prestige and the influence of the country on international affairs, but also managing a dangerous pandemic in a disastrous way, allowing thousands of deaths, just because he thought he would put at risk his reelection if he adopted the scientists’ proposals on containmemtmeasures against the pandemic.
For the American Citizens of Greek origin though, many of which voted for Trump in 2016’s elections, there is another serious reason why they should opt for a clean Biden victory in this election. Only a democratic candidate could ensure the national interests of Greece, while Trump has proved not only tolerant to the aggression of Erdogan’s regime, but also to be the main international agent to encourage it. Another round of Trump in office at the White House would clearly be a real and direct potential danger to Greece and to Hellenism.
It’s important to perceive that the current resident of the White House does not just tolerate Erdogan’s aggressive behavior because, according to a simplified version, the Turkish President is an authoritarian leader likeable to another authoritarian leader or because Erdogan has come up with a way to compliment Trump’s overweening ego and therefore gain his favor.
At this moment, there are many indications and evidence, even from the former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, which confirm Trump and Erdogan are connected by personal and economic relationships, undue for an American President.
- Trump’s economic interests in Istanbul, with the skyscraper in the property of a Turkish entrepreneur, which has the name of the current president, the costly lobbying strategy which Ankara has launched when Trump was elected, spending millions, to affect people in his environment in order to obtain a direct communication line,from Trump to Erdogan, the rumors about the promises from Erdogan’s regime that he would provide Trump with evidence concerning the entrepreneurial activity of Biden’s son, Hunter, in Ukraine, the undue exchange between two leaders with intentions of intervention in American Justice, in order for the Turkish state bank Halbank to be cleared of serious charges (with what kind of exchange I wonder) show that this has nothing to do with a usual relationship between two leaders.
This uncommon and largely suspicious relationship between the two presidents, in combination with the erratic philosophy of Trump’s foreign policy, has made the American president “give the green light” to all of the offensive, imperialistic initiatives of the Turkish regime, from the invasion against the Kurdish allies, amid the war against ISIS, in Syria, to the provocations against Greece, which have brought the two countries close to a “hot incident”. Even the purchase of the Russian S-400 missiles, a mainly hostile act towards the NATO, has remained unpunished from Washington with Trump’s responsibility, even though the majority of the Congress has approved a law for an imposition of heavy sanctions to countries who go for high-priced military supplies from Russia.
The ultimate danger for the interests of Greece in case of Trump’s reelection, is the current president himself, performing an inward-looking foreign policy and doubting the value of the NATO avoiding playing the intervening role, inherent in his position, to halt Turkey’s persistent and constantly increasing dangerous threats and restoring the stability within NATO’s southeast region, something which former American presidents have done, with the most prominent example being that of Bill Clinton during the Imia crisis. The continuation of such a policy for another presidency would lead to, unseen before,dangers for the national interests of Greece, since Erdoganis being encouraged to doubt, even withthreats of violence, Greece’s national sovereignty and rights, stemming from international law.
During his visit with the prime Minister KyriakosMitsotakis at the White House, Trump openly stood by Turkey’s side. To KyriakosMitsotakis’ statement that Greece is ready to defend its sovereignty and its rights against Turkey’s aggressive behavior, the only thing that Trump had to say was ‘But what if you lose?’ to which the PM replied ‘We will not lose, we will win’. But the meaning of all this was that Trump’s White House does not intend to take action in order to intercept Turkey’s aggression and, albeit implicitly, asked Greece to accept Turkey’s demands to avoid a military defeat.
Other than that, Trump, with his attitude towards Erdogan’s decision to convert Aghia Sophia to a mosque and in favor of his special relationship with the Turkish leader, recognized Ankara’s right to turn into an Islamic temple one of the most important monuments of Christianity. All that, while presenting himself as, ostensibly, sensitive to issues relating to religious freedom and as loyal supporter of America’s Right-wing Religion, and getting close to threaten Turkey with sanctions regarding the release of pastor Brunson. For Brunson’s release, Trump threatened to destroy the Turkish economy, but remained suspiciously silent in front of the desecration of a unique Christian monument.
Biden on Greece’s side
On the other hand, Joe Biden, a political man of arguably high standards and skills, as confirmed for decades by his career in Washington, from the Senate to being Barack Obama’s vice president, has a clear position for the foreign policy, which he supports with great consequence since his service as vice president, something that makes him less likeable to Ankara. He has more than once warned about the dangers coming from Erdogan’s authoritarian regime and has supported without doubt Greece’s fair positions.
A few days ago, Biden made clear to the Greek American community, in the most articulate way, his positions concerning Greece’s subjects of major interest, underlining that he, in contrast with president Trump, ‘will react to the Turkish behavior which violates international law or the commitments of the NATO allies, such as the Turkish violations Greek airspace’.
In addition, in the text published by Joe Biden’s team, with the title ‘Joe Biden’s vision for Greek Americans and US-Greece Relations’, it is emphasized that ‘“Throughout his many years in public life, Joe Biden has a long record of engagement on issues important to Greek-Americans and a record of support for strengthening the U.S.-Greece relationship. He has worked personally with Greek leaders over many decades to strengthen the alliance. As President, Joe Biden will be committed to a strong dialogue with both Greek-American leaders and the leadership of Greece to sustain the bond between our countries’.
Biden explicitly commits to collaborate with Greece for the promotion of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, to focus in a diplomatic way on the solution for the Cyprus dispute and to continue being a powerful voice for religious freedom worldwide, including the rights of the Greek Orthodox Church.
If somebody claims that all this is nothing but usual preelection promises, everything Biden has done so far for Greece is the ultimate proof for his real intentions. As vice president, he supported Greece during the economic crisis, he opposed to the Turkish occupation of the Nothern part of Cyprus and in 2014 he became the first in office vice president of the United States who visited Cyprus, while he led the diplomatic involvement of the White House in the Cyprus dispute. Recently, he encouraged the Trump government to deter Turkey from further provocative actions in the area against Greece, including threats of violence. What’s more, he has been, for many years, a strong supporter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and has appealed to Turkey to allow the reopening of the Theological School of Halki, while he criticized the recent decision of the Turkish government to turn Aghia Sophia into a mosque. In 2016, many Greek Americans were influenced by Trump and supported a candidate who was then an unfamiliar dimension in politics. Right now, though, there is not a single doubt that Trump works in favor of Turkey’s interests and against those of Greece. Every Greek American with the right to vote should perceive this reality and support Joe Biden in this upcoming election. The victory of the politician who has long defended Greece’s rights will prove to be decisive for the future of Greece and Hellenism.