The executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), Endy Zemenides said the progress of Greek-American relations should not be impeded by the dysfunctional relationship between Washington and Ankara, in a letter he sent to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The letter was prompted by the prolonged delay in the process of selling F-35 fighter jets to Greece. According to sources, the U.S. side desired to announce the sale of Greek F-35s and Turkish F-16s simultaneously to maintain, at least a minimum, balance at the communication level.
However, the ongoing delay in Sweden’s NATO accession hinders the approval of the request for F-16s, delaying the F-35 issue as well, with Mr. Zemenides voicing his disappointment, highlighting the risk of creating false impressions in the Greek public opinion.
In this context, in his letter, he urges the U.S. government to finalize the sale of F-35s to Greece immediately. As stated in the letter, “At a time when discussions in Washington raise questions in Europe about U.S. leadership, we must avoid similar doubts arising in the Greek public opinion. We must take every step to improve a bilateral relationship that has consistently been described as ‘the best ever.’ It is time for this relationship to take the next step.”
Furthermore, Mr. Zemenides reminds the U.S. Secretary of State that almost a year has passed since the State Department informed Congress about the possible sale of F-35s to Greece. During this period, the Fourth U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue took place, where a joint statement was issued, emphasizing that “both parties stressed Greece’s efforts in military modernization and look forward to continuing cooperation for the supply of defense items such as the F-35.”
Mr. Zemenides argues in the letter that the progress of Greek-American relations should not be influenced by the dysfunctional relationship between Washington and Ankara, expressing his disgruntlement that the U.S. government seems to take for granted Greece’s credibility and dedication as an ally. He emphasizes that “the deepening of U.S.-Greece relations cannot remain hostage to the dysfunctional relationship with Turkey.”
Regarding the acquisition of F-35s, Mr. Zemenides believes that this development will enhance the interests of the Western alliance in a critical geopolitical juncture. As he explains, “Greece’s acquisition of the F-35 strengthens NATO, enhancing the capabilities of an ally that has stood decisively against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. In addition, Greece’s geostrategic and diplomatic importance for the Western alliance has become even more critical due to the conflict in southern Greece in Gaza.”
Finally, he emphasizes that Congress resists selling F-16s to Turkey due to Ankara’s anti-alliance behavior. “Turkey’s failure to secure Congress approval for the purchase of F-16s is a result of precisely opposite behavior (from Greece). Ankara increasingly collaborates with and provides political and economic cover to Moscow, contributes more to division than unity within NATO, and has emerged as a leading sponsor and advocate of Hamas.”