On the campaign trail, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to brag about his relationship with Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Trump shared a similar story during an interview with Fox & Friends last week, during which he claimed that various world leaders called him to intervene on a matter with the Turkish President.
During a campaign stop in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, Trump bragged that he was the only world leader that Erdogan respected and claimed– without naming names– that another world leader called and asked for his help in reaching out to Erdogan.
“One of the leaders called up. Top, top leaders of one of the countries. And he asked to call President Erdogan of Turkey, who I get along with very well. He said, ‘Sir, please, will you do me a favor? Call Erdogan … you’re the only one he respects,” Trump said to the crowd.
Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council had harsh words for Trump, in an exclusive statement to The Pappas Post.
“If President Trump really wants to do the world a favor, he should disavow his friendship with Erdogan. He once demonstrated resolve— in the Pastor Brunson case— when it came to Turkey. He needs to do so again,” Zemenides said, adding that “If the price of the President’s friendship with Erdogan is letting Turkey get away with CAATSA violations, provocations against Greece and Cyprus, converting Hagia Sophia and the Chora Church, and enabling jihadists all over the region, there is no benefit to America or its allies.”
Zemenides was referring to the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which requires Turkey to be sanctioned for buying Russian S400 missiles.
Nick Larigakis, President of the Washington DC-based American Hellenic Institute also criticized Trump, calling his words “a prime example of the appeasement of Turkey.”
“Although we understand President Trump’s remarks were made in the context of the upcoming political campaign against Vice President Biden, they are a prime example of the appeasement of Turkey by the United States that AHI has urged the Administration to avoid because they bear consequences, especially as they relate to Mr. Erdogan, who seeks positive reinforcement from the president of the United States,” AHI’s President Nick Larigakis said.
“The repeated statements by various State Department officials, including its spokesperson, that urge Turkey to halt its operations in Greece’s maritime waters and in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus, and to avoid steps that raise tensions in the region, clearly are not being listened to by Mr. Erdogan.”
“Regretfully, remarks such as the president’s only serve to embolden Mr. Erdogan to take aggressive and provocative actions the president’s own Administration states are not acceptable and raise tensions in the region,” Larigakis said.
“President Trump’s indication that world leaders have called him to ask his help to deal with Mr. Erdogan signals the severity of the situation Mr. Erdogan is causing in the region. Furthermore, because President Trump implied that Mr. Erdogan listens to him, we reiterate our call for President Trump to utilize his personal relationship with Mr. Erdogan and urge Mr. Erdogan to cease and desist with his illegal and aggressive actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and to deescalate tensions in the region.”
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