US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief adviser Ibrahim Kalin in Istanbul on Sunday.
The two, whose meeting was unannounced to the media beforehand, discussed various bilateral and international issues, topped by the developments in the Aegean and the Mediterranean and the tension between Türkiye and Greece.
Kalin stressed that his country would never hesitate to defend its rights and interests in the Aegean and the Mediterranean and deemed Greece’s aggressive acts against international law “unacceptable.”
They underscored the importance of increasing bilateral cooperation based on their mutual interests and in line with implementing the strategic mechanism between the two countries.
They affirmed that completing the F-16 process would serve the two countries’ strategic interests.
The two sides further underlined Türkiye’s key role within NATO and the importance that allies act in solidarity and harmony against common security risks and all terror threats.
Talks also touched on the importance of focusing on diplomatic efforts to end the war on Ukraine immediately and in accordance with the international law.
Progress on NATO accession for Finland and Sweden was also tackled.
Last week, Ankara summoned the Greek ambassador and protested to Washington after accusing Greece of deploying US armored vehicles on two Aegean islands near the Turkish coast.
Greece and Türkiye, which are both part of NATO, have feuded for years over maritime borders and energy exploration rights in the Aegean and east Mediterranean seas.
The latest escalation started when Turkish security sources shared aerial images purportedly showing ships loaded with US armored vehicles docking at two Greek islands, Lesbos and Samos.
The United States responded to the protest lodged by Türkiye and stressed on Wednesday that Greek sovereignty over two islands was not in doubt.
In a note to the US embassy in Ankara, Türkiye told Washington that its “weapons should not be used in breach” of the islands’ agreed status.
Ankara threatened to boost defenses of the Turkish Cypriots in the north of the island, two weeks after Washington lifted a decades-old arms embargo on the internationally-recognized Greek Cypriot government located in the south of the island.
Erdogan slammed the US stances on Greece’s arming of the Aegean islands that should, according to international law, be demilitarized, as well as the conflict in the East Mediterranean.
“The US, which overlooks and even encourages the steps by the Cypriot-Greek duo that threaten peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, will lead to an armament race on the island with this step,” Erdogan stressed.