A stopover by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Greece, and specifically on the island of Crete this weekend, is now a distinct possibility. If it materializes, the visit will come immediately after what’s expected to be his closely watched meetings in Turkey with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his counterpart, Hakan Fidan.
Reports in Athens on Wednesday afternoon said America’s top diplomat will land in Hania, Crete for a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The latter will arrive on the island and stay at his ancestral home durin gthe Epiphany religious holiday on Saturday.
Blinken’s visit to Turkey reportedly aims to overcome Ankara’s “foot-dragging” over ratification of Sweden’s NATO accession.
A report by Greek state broadcaster ERT on Tuesday, citing information from Washington, said the Biden administration is reportedly using the prospect of allowing the sale of F35 warplanes to Greece as a lever of “pressure” on Erdogan and his government.
In case delays continue, sources claim, the Biden administration will officially inform the US Congress of its intent to sell the stealthy fighter planes to Greece, regardless of whatever displeasure is expressed by Ankara.
Blinken has previously said as much to Turkish FM Fidan, in case pledges by the Erdogan government over Sweden’s membership aren’t fulfilled.