The Biden/Harris campaign published an official statement regarding its vision for Greece and Greek-American relations.
Biden’s latest campaign statement comes in addition to previous ones including after the Turkish government’s conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, when the former vice president called for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to convert the UNESCO World Heritage Site back to a museum.
“The Hagia Sophia is an architectural marvel and a treasured holy site for people of many faiths,” Biden said. “For the last 85 years the Hagia Sophia has been a museum, allowing people from around the world to visit, admire and pray in this holy space, which since 1985 has also had the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
The latest statement from the Biden campaign follows.
Joe Biden’s vision for Greek Americans and U.S.-Greece Relations
“Greece and America share common values, common goals, a common philosophical tradition going back to the great scholars of ancient Greece.” – Vice President Joe Biden, Greek Independence Day, March 25, 2009.
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.
What Joe Biden has done:
- As Vice President, Joe Biden took the lead in urging that the U.S. government support Greece during its financial crisis, working closely with European leaders and the International Monetary Fund to ensure that Greece got a fair deal.
- Joe has long opposed the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and supported a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality. In 2014, he visited the island, the first sitting Vice President to do so in more than 50 years, and led White House diplomatic engagement on the Cyprus question.
- Joe recently called on the Trump Administration to press Turkey to refrain from further provocative actions in the region against Greece, including threats of force.
- Joe has long been a strong supporter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and given unwavering support for the ability of the Patriarchate to function in its role as the center of the Greek Orthodox Church. He treasures his visit in 2011 to the Patriarchate and each of his meetings with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He has called on Turkey to permit the reopening of the Halki Seminary and criticized the recent decision of the Turkish government to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
- Joe Biden has always been a friend of the Greek-American community, in Delaware and around the country. He is grateful for the longstanding support of the community.
- Biden was humbled to receive the Oxi Day Foundation’s highest honor in 2016, and the Athenagoras Human Rights Award in 2015.
What Joe Biden will do:
- Joe Biden will work with our close ally Greece to advance stability in the eastern Mediterrean.
- Unlike President Trump, Joe will call out Turkish behavior that is in violation of international law or that contravenes its commitments as a NATO ally, such as Turkish violations of Greek airspace.
- Joe will work diplomatically to bring a resolution to the Cyprus question.
- Joe will continue to be a strong voice for religious freedom globally, including the rights of the Greek Orthodox Church.
The Biden campaign’s original statement is available here.
Featured image: Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Senator Kamala Harris stand on stage during a presidential candidate debate in Michigan, U.S. (Photographer: Anthony Lanzilote/Bloomberg)
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