The U.S., near the disputed area, will base the mammoth ship in Greece

CRITE, Greece – In a move that could be seen as a symbolic show of support for Greece in a tense situation with Turkey, a top U.S. diplomat said Tuesday that the United States would land a large naval ship at a military base shared with Greece. , Just 600 miles off the Turkish coast.

Herschel “Woody” Williams, an expedition sea base ship, U.S. Africa is assigned to command and is not the kind of ship that could interfere in a high-intensity conflict, with rising tensions between Turkey and Greece – two NATO allies – boiling over.

But its deployment at Soda Bay is a joint venture near the U.S.-Greece base where Turkey sent survey and drilling ships to explore for gas earlier this year, which could serve as a symbol of America’s growing irritability with Ankara.

The dispute with Turkey – how to resolve it – was a top priority for Greek Prime Minister Kirikos Mitsotakis after a series of meetings and tours in the Gulf on Tuesday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Mr Mitsotakis accused Turkey of violating international law with its expansionist strategy of claiming water and resources in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean, controlled by Greece and other countries.

“This is a very sensitive area that has been recently attempted by Turkey’s aggression with provocative actions,” Mr Mitsotakis told reporters after a private meeting with Mr Pompeo. He said Turkey had mixed tensions with its rhetoric and misleading communications about its intentions: “In other words, actions that are against the values ​​of the Western world,” Mr Mitosokis said.

Widespread discord puts the United States in an undesirable position, and not just because there is a risk of a rift between the two NATO allies. The U.S. alliance with Turkey is central to the Trump administration’s campaign to advance Shia Shiites and other Iranian-backed efforts in Syria, where Iran supports the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The United States also has a large airport in Incirlik, Turkey, where it stores strategic nuclear weapons.

But the Trump administration has also had mixed success in sticking to some of Turkey’s aggression.

Turkey’s incursion into northeastern Syria, sending forces to areas captured by Kurdish fighters whom Ankara considers a terrorist organization, has threatened the mainland force, beating the Islamic State. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has detained U.S. citizens, ruled increasingly tensely and hosted the Palestinian army, which has been designated a terrorist by the United States.

The United States has not formally sought Turkey to mediate the dispute between Turkey and Greece; It is a task that has only recently been handled by Germany.

In his public comment on Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo tried to shake the division out of the game.

“We strongly support the dialogue between NATO allies Greece and Turkey and encourage them to resume discussions on these issues as soon as possible,” Pompeo said in a comment with Mr Mitsotakis.

He described progress in NATO’s mediation efforts and said the development of the Eastern Mediterranean should “promote cooperation and provide a foundation for sustainable energy security and economic prosperity in the region as a whole.”

Earlier this month, Mr Pompeo visited Cyprus – which also objected to Turkey’s activities in disputed waters in the East Mediterranean – and expressed “deep concern” to the United States over the use of Turkish warships and jet fighters in its energy research efforts. Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and claimed the north of the island as its territory, which is not recognized anywhere in the world.

Greece and Turkey went to war on an almost deserted island in 1996, a crisis thwarted by U.S. diplomacy.

Mr Mitsotakis noted that Mr Pompeo had “an opportunity” to “realize” the Turkish invasion from the Cypriot coast during that trip and said after Tuesday’s talks that he believed Greece and the United States were “fully aligned” on the issue.