ATHENS, Greece (AP) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, February 21, urged NATO allies Greece and Turkey to calm rhetoric as both countries head to national elections, in an effort to bolster unity in the trans-Atlantic alliance as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears its anniversary.
Blinken met with officials in Athens after a stop in Turkey, where he also visited regions hardest hit by devastating recent earthquakes.
Greek and Turkish officials said they are willing to take a time-out from long-standing disputes over sea boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean in the aftermath of the earthquakes that have killed about 45,000 people in Turkey and Syria.
Blinken said he hoped the pause would provide an opportunity to return to diplomacy.
“It’s profoundly in our interest and I believe in the interest of both Greece and Turkey to find ways to resolve longstanding differences,” he told reporters in Athens on Tuesday.
“And to do it through dialogue through diplomacy to do it peacefully and in the meantime to not take any unilateral actions or use any charged rhetoric that would only make things more difficult.”