Menendez Calls Attention to the Plight of American Allies Greece and Cyprus

Bob Menendez and Ryan Alexander · October 25, 2018

Throughout my quarter century of public service in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, ensuring strong the United States maintains a strong bilateral relationship with Greece, advocates for the sovereign rights of the people of Cyprus, and a champion of the religious freedom of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew have always been at the top of my agenda .   I have utilized my unique positions as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and later as Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to significantly and positively engage on these issues. 

There is still a great deal of work to do.

The United States must treat Greece, one of our most reliable allies, with the respect it deserves.  Greece is one of only six countries in the world to fight with the United States in every international conflict of the 20th Century. Our military base at Souda Bay in Crete is of critical importance to American interests in the Middle East and to the international fight against terrorism. We must continue to build on our relationship and promote Greece’s role as an instrumental partner of the Eastern Mediterranean Alliance with Israel, Cyprus, and the United States which can provide a reliable and safe transport of energy to Western Europe.

The United States must continue to support Cyprus, the northern portion of which remains under Turkish occupation and continue to be a leading voice in facilitating a lasting, just resolution to the Cyprus question. Cyprus deserves territorial integrity and Turkish forces must withdraw. Cyprus must be able to fully operate in the Exclusive Economic Zone. Turkish interference and other actions directly impact American security interests. As we look across the Western world, Turkey cannot continue its occupation of another sovereign nation.

With respect to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Turkish government’s refusal to respect his full religious freedom is unacceptable. His properties must be returned, the theological seminary of Halki must be reopened the government of Turkey must recognize His All Holiness as the Spiritual Head of Orthodox Christians around the world.